Canadian trio BRAIDS is back with Flourish // Perish, the follow-up to their 2011 debut Native Speaker. Minus one band member, and profoundly changed by the eighteen month tour they did to support the first record, BRAIDS is the forefront of the indie electronic wave. They call themselves “organic electronic.” Frontwoman Raphaelle Standell-Preston’s voice has elements of AUSTRA and BJORK, with a breathy element all her own. Taylor Smith commands the synths, and Austin Tufts provides the organic, in the moment drumming.
Flourish//Perish defies easy categorization. Some parts of it are seriously nineties electronic and the band confessed to a heavy Warp Records influence during our interview with them. Everything about this record is sparse and stripped down. The opening track Victoria is practically an ode to APHEX TWIN, with tight, pulsing opener that gives way Richard D. James era blips. Fruend is like listening to water drops. Several of the tracks have false endings, where you think it’s going to fade out end and then the tones and sounds return.
This record is minimal. The thing about minimal records is that, like the sound, you can actually say TOO much about it. This reviewer has been absorbing the record since early July, and on each listen it takes on new and fantastic dimension, but remains difficult to put into words. BRAIDS break songs down to the barest bones structure. There is nothing florid here, just pure tones, which break up the flowing, ethereal vocals with something like a pulse. Listen and decide for yourself.