BRAID – ‘No Coast’
(Out July 8th on Topshelf Records)
YOU CAN HARDLY MOVE FOR ‘THE NEXT BIG THING’ on the scene right now. But the first album in 16 years from Illinois Post-Hardcore influencers Braid, defines how superlative songwriting will always outshine musical trends. 98’s defining Frame & Canvas remains their signature piece but with No Coast, they appear to have a more accessible record that will surely remind one and all what ‘proper Emo’ sounds like. From the off they’re still at the top of their game and ‘Bang’ is an explosive crash of emo pyrotechnics as the pipes of singer/guitarist Bob Nanna ascend like a firecracker into the horizon. ‘East End Hallows’ sees the band assemble their own DeLorean in which to travel back to the ’90s. With Chris Broach at the wheel, his youthful vocals slamming the pedal to the metal, they consumately re-enter the nostalgic territory of Frame & Canvas.
Nanna and Broach trade lyrical duty throughout the title track, a mid-tempo jam baked in the essence of Californian shores. With subtle hints of Title Fight, Hot Rod Circuit and Circa Survive, Braid’s legacy is gloriously prevalent and the award for most infectious chorus goes to ‘Many Enemies,’ a re-recording from their split EP with Balance and Composure. Tipping their hats to the golden years of emo with ‘Pre Evergreen,’ a Jimmy Eat World Clarity-era gem, it’s Nanna’s most earnest vocal performance, before they drop their best songrwiting to date with the swirling ‘Put Some Wings on That Kid’.
Drummer Damon Atkinson adds intricate fills that continually challenge their musical progressions. No more so than on ‘Lux’ and the darkest cut ‘Climber New Entry’, which even has a legit guitar breakdown. It’s no Madball, but it’s enough to give Braid props for versatility. ‘Light Crisis’ is definitive Braid and does what it says on the tin, but captures everything hypnotic about these natives of the midwest. They’ve never known boundaries and their legacy still stands. Retaining individuality and vigor after such a long time, while losing none of their orginality or curb appeal, makes No Coast a real success. Lets just hope they don’t leave it so long next time. (9)