Braids Native Speaker

Braids Native Speaker
Few Canadian indie bands of late have taken the plunge into musical madness the way Braids do on Native Speaker. While the Animal Collective influence is never less than obvious, Braids deserve many accolades for such a rhapsodic debut album. Lead singer Raphaelle Standell-Preston floats between an echo and an anchor on opener "Lemonade," which alchemically crackles like a witch's brew before turning into an ethereal album highlight. In its last moments, the song sounds like a piano duet falling down the rabbit hole. Native Speaker is quirky and textured, but pulls itself together before ever getting too convoluted. On "Plath Heart," Standell-Preston's unbridled vocals lead the way through a foggy, intriguing other realm, and particularly wallop "Same Mum," Native Speaker's best song. This album would be called "euphoric" if not for "Lammicken," which practically levitates with hints of Björk and PJ Harvey. There's a dismal undertone, demonstrating the band's sinister side, although those paying attention would have picked up on their affinity for the profane early on. Native Speaker is the kind of debut that gets hailed as "the beginning of…" years down the road. While it's too soon for these kinds of accolades, Braids could very well mark a shift in which Canadian indie bands risk being called "weird" instead of "nice." (Flemish Eye)