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Braid – No Coast | Album Review

‘No Coast’ is Braid’s first album in 16 years, find out what we thought of it here.

Credit: Album Cover

Alongside the likes of Sunny Day Real Estate and Mineral, Braid were one of the seminal bands of the 90’s emo scene. Like those other emo bands, they also failed to make it out of that decade, disbanding after releasing the career defining album Frame & Canvas in 1998. There’s an argument that all of these bands belong to the time that spawned them, and can only be enjoyed with a sense of nostalgia for that time. Bands have already come and gone citing Braid as a major influence which has, perhaps controversially, been described as an emo-revival. The original bands have reformed at various points, too, with varying success, so when Braid announced that they were getting back together, it raised a few questions – was this a genuine comeback, or just another nostalgia trip?

The original reunion took place in 2011, and the band are still going, with an EP release, Closer to Closed, in the same year and a split release with Balance and Composure last year. No Coast marks the band’s first full length since Frame & Canvas, and carries on the trend that was started on the comeback EPs, unsatisfied to rely on past success and stick to a formula, they’ve updated and altered their sound – more of a rebirth than a rehash.

Bang’ opens the album with a… well, you know. It’s a familiar sound, stop-start riffs, interweaving guitar lines, classic Braid. The title track ‘No Coast’ highlights the new side to their music, recognizable verses, with a straight forward, pop influenced chorus. There’s more melody in their music now, encompassing a wider range of influences and styles, which is to be expected after a long break and some other projects. It helps create more of a well rounded listen, while also distancing them from that usual 90’s-worship sound.

As the album progresses the band explore a wider range of sounds, drifting between moments of aggression and energy and their new, more laidback sound. ‘Put Some Wings On That Kid’ and ‘Climber New Entry’ balance these two elements well, helping the album cover a lot of ground. No Coast could replace Frame & Canvas as the go-to album for new Braid fans. ‘Lux’ has been out for a while now, and it’s easy to see why they chose this track to introduce people to the album, the power chord led track is among the best to showcase Braid in 2014. By contrast ‘Light Crisis’ is the most obviously 90’s inspired track, and helps remind us why this band were so great in the first place.

Closing track ‘This Is Not A Revolution’ is a captivating slow build, and aptly named. No Coast isn’t a revolution, it’s not the sound of a band who have forgotten their roots or turned their backs on their earlier albums, it’s a band who respect where they’ve come from, but aren’t stuck there. They’ve started themselves on the road from being a 90’s relic to one of the rare creatively successful comebacks, and as their contemporaries from the first time round have made clear, that’s not a simple trick.

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