Braid - Closer to Closed (Cover Artwork)


Closer to Closed (2011)


Braid have returned from their absence with this little ditty of an EP titled Closer to Closed: four songs of interesting composures and quality over quantity. I honestly had nothing to expect beforehand since the band ended on a high note with 1998's Frame & Canvas, and Hey Mercedes picked it up only to break apart before I ever took notice. I guess I secretly wished for something harder like Braid's second album, 1996's The Age of Octeen, but instead got an entirely different beast.

Time to grow and develop as human beings is a part of life, and it's reflected on in many ways. Music is always my favorite, besides books, and with the first track "The Right Time", it seems that Braid is doing just that. The vocals are soft and elegant and the lyrics reach out with immediate response. "It could never be this good again / you know it's true / even though we tried before / we could never see it through." Interesting to note is that this is a Chris Broach-led song, with Bob Nanna giving backup notes. It's a nice mellow-feeling song that reminds me of the Promise Ring circa Nothing Feels Good.

Track 2 is the song "Do Over", and it's Bob this time who takes the lead. The guitars twang and squeal, while the bass handles the overall tone. Drummer Damon Atkinson is still amazing with his weird polyrhythmic patterns and time signatures. This track really reminded me of Hey Mercedes, which is not a bad thing at all.

The third track, titled "You Are the Reason", is a Jeff Hanson cover, and it's my personal favorite. Bob's singing is inspiring and the lyrics penned are downright touching. "I am the reason why you are here / I am the cause for all this fear"; "I'm trapped in a tube / tied next to you / air running out / going too soon." There are some very nice piano parts that follow along while the band gently lay down the accompanying music. It's definitely the highlight of the EP and a surefire way to get someone interested.

Lastly is the track "Universe or Worse", and it's a slight changer, with a quieter feel and lengthy time frame. It's rather complex and reminded me of Boys Life during their more strung-along numbers. By this time I knew things weren't the same for Braid. These aren't the younger guys who made those emotionally charged albums of the '90s, but instead matured adults in a sea of influential nostalgia and welcomed homecoming. For a fan of this type of music who did not divulge until it was already over with, it's nice to have these guys back, and this piece of new music is a nice treat.