Punknews.org
Braid - No Coast (Cover Artwork)

Braid

Braid: No CoastNo Coast (2014)
Topshelf Records

Reviewer Rating: 4
User Rating:


Contributed by: RENALDO69RENALDO69
(others by this writer | submit your own)

Recently, I was part of an interesting discussion that tagged bands like Sunny Day Real Estate and Braid, among others, as throwaway bands -- meant for a certain time and place -- which isn't "now." In the truest sense of the word "debate," many of the personnel involved had a mutual musical respect.
iTunes StoreAmazon


Recently, I was part of an interesting discussion that tagged bands like Sunny Day Real Estate and Braid, among others, as throwaway bands -- meant for a certain time and place -- which isn't "now." In the truest sense of the word "debate," many of the personnel involved had a mutual musical respect and high admiration for the bands but still touted them as something arcane; a souvenir if you will. Now, I'll jump to making the point that No Coast isn't a typical Braid record. It mashes gears in a new, more contemporary direction at times, and as light as it is in going down this road, it's a pleasure to say that there are still enough throwbacks to remember their worth in the '90s. Is it enough to sate the ardent fans, waiting eagerly to sink into the new record? That's tough to call. But Braid definitely find themselves retaining a decent portion of their formative identity while fiddling to establish something new in the process.

The album is split down the middle in terms of musical intricacy. Some tracks like "No Coast" and "East End Hollows" are dance-y, power-pop tunes that feel minimal. They're still pretty busy on the fretboard as Bob Nanna and Chris Broach continue their camaraderie and sharp dynamic switching up the vocals. These lighter tunes do keep a nice layered feel to them and represent the collaborative knots that Braid fans, and Hey Mercedes fans, fell in love with way back when. It's ripe with that old yet distinct Midwestern rock disposition in terms of lyrical and vocal duty -- more measured but still attached to Braid's identity. Musically and ideologically, you wonder if Braid's back to just experiment or even try to fit in, and naturally so, but listening closely, you understand the musical trade-offs, compromises here and there and also, where and why they shifted their revered sound. I'd say it's maturity but musical growth feels more like it. These songs are less emo and more broad in scope, riding pop-punk waves more than first anticipated.

Then comes the Frame and Canvas and Age of Octeen moments. Slightly harsher vocals rear their heads to meddle with lush, emotional blends of melody and aggression. It's a gauntlet Braid decide to pick up with guitar-building indie tracks such as"Bang" and "Pre-Evergreen." They're slow, anthemic and very cathartic, like poetry, audible, yet in motion. It's a unique rarity these days to see bands achieve these musical heights without sounding like too material a production but Braid pull it off excellently. "Lux," a track they've had out for a while, "Put Some Wings On That Kid" and "Climber New Entry" all balance these two divisive sounds via distorted guitars and crashing cymbals to re-emphasize why Braid was made for the '90s. The Seattle vibe is heavy in them. It all snowballs into a fitting finale in "This Is Not A Revolution" which starts off slow and ballad-esque (like an acoustic plaintive) before coalescing into an unyielding juggernaut of explosive riffs. It combines eras of Braid smartly -- the yelping of catchy punk tunes to the sombre melodies to the emo-laden aspects of the band.

In the end, the format this record is laid out in creates a neat pattern to give a gleaming overview of Braid. They're a band that will always find their footing by making genuine music that they want to make. Sure, their tastes have changed which will reflect in the music they make, but so will our taste, which shows up in the music we listen to, or criticize. The big picture that remains is that Braid still have a lot to offer -- stylistically and as a monument in several sub-genres of rock -- while paving their own way and creating openings for others. No Coast is a record that encapsulates their evolution pretty well, as a record that allows space to let the music dig in to your skin, and also, as one to show that there's no need to fear change. They did "then" so well to me and given the time we're in "now," I think topping this will be Braid's biggest challenge...if they embark on undertaking it.



 

 
People who liked this also liked:
The Clash - London CallingNeutral Milk Hotel - In The Aeroplane Over The SeaUltimate Fakebook - Open Up And Say AwesomeGoldfinger - Open Your EyesTelevision - Marquee MoonNew York Dolls - New York DollsThe Rescue - Volume Plus VolumeThe Washdown - The WashdownThe Velvet Underground - The Velvet Underground and NicoRyan's Hope - Weighing What Matters

Please login or register to post comments.What are the benefits of having a Punknews.org account?
  • Share your opinion by posting comments on the stories that interest you
  • Rate music and bands and help shape the weekly top ten
  • Let Punknews.org use your ratings to help you find bands and albums you might like
  • Customize features on the site to get the news the way you want.
Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
wesley_snipes (July 14, 2014)

This sh!t is B Nannas!

spoon_of_grimbo (July 12, 2014)

The most jarring thing about this upon first listen is that Chris now sings instead of that sort of atonal yelling (and all the "YEAH!"s) he did before, and that he gets equal mic-time with Bob. That EP from a couple of years back should have eased me into this new arrangement, but it still seems odd how melodic things are now. That said, I'm quietly impressed so far, and I've always found their records to be growers.

keithybobeefy (July 9, 2014)

One thing I sort of agree with in this review as that some record as are definitely indicative of a certain time. I can't help but listen to SDRE and not think of 1994. Same goes with Weezer's first two records, "The Blue Album" and "Pinkerton". But hit at different moments of my adolescence so they will always remind me of that time. Ths t being said, some albums, while having clear cut memories tied with them seem to fit with any time period, even if they hold a special specific time in my life. The album's mentioned before are those kind of records. They're brilliant no matter what the time.

Personally, I would include "Sandinista!" by The Clash into the same category. Not that it represents a certain time with how music was played, but that the memories I have of it our fond though not the only association I have for it.

My apologies for rambling.

keithybobeefy (July 9, 2014)

Thank you thenightman. One of my favorite records is "Diary" by Sunny Day Real Estate, "Dear You" by Jawbreaker and "Clarity" by Jimmy Eat World. I feel like Braid should make this list but for whatever reason I never gave them much mention or time.

thenightman (July 8, 2014)

Frame and Canvas is the obvious album to get. Age of Octeen is also great. I personally love Movie Music Volume 1

keithybobeefy (July 8, 2014)

I've also wanted to get into Braid but never really knew where to start. Best album of theirs to sink my teeth into?

greg0rb (July 8, 2014)

Good review. I'll save most of my comments for the Two Gregs One Podcast we're taping soon. Interested to hear what other Greg thinks about it since he didn't grow up in the Chicago punk and emo scene like me.

I do think that it is excellent. Braid were at the top of the heap in 98, and they are rightfully reclaiming their title. Emo upstarts, take note.

Exclusive Streams

Newest Reviews

Punknews.org Team

Other Places to Go