Braids – Deep in the Iris

3.5/5
Montreal-based trio BRAIDS have shifted their style to incorporate more acoustic sounds and less of an electronic dependency. Lead singer Raphaelle Standell-Preston, drummer Austin Tufts, and multi-instrumentalist Taylor Smith have done a stellar job of finding a tasteful balance between the two, expanding their sonic range and delving deep into new textures and stronger emotions.
Deep in the Iris, the band’s third album, was the first to be recorded outside of Canada – in Arizona specifically – as they searched to find the sun (Canadian winters suck) and reconnect with their music and each other.
Disheartening while all the same magnetic, “Taste” playfully draws the listener in with Standell-Preston’s warm pop vocals, Tufts’ clockwork percussion, and Smith’s contribution of sustaining piano chords. The lyrics “We experience the love we think we deserve” effortlessly charms its way into the song’s seamless hook. Tufts’ jazz-influenced percussion subtly adds a massive level of eagerness and anticipation to the track; the drummer’s quick-firing style and quiet aggression seals the corners on the band’s exceptional performance. Final track “Warm Like Summer” follows similar fashion: piano chords, crisp, rapid drum playing, and beautifully expansive vocals to bring Deep in the Iris to a close with style and grace.
Deep, experimental pop elements make for dynamic additions to Deep in the Iris, with electronic influences draped across the soundscape on “Blondie”, “Happy When” and “Bunny Rose”, mixed together with crisp, dry percussion and continuous fluctuation of vocals.
Influences of tUnE-yArDs, and Björk come through with the hyper-textured instrumentation, and a strong female-forward vocal performance on “Miniskirt”. Upon its release, the song drew a lot of attention with the highlighted lyrics surrounding issues of abuse, slut-shaming and female degradation. And amongst the controversy and lyrical intention, the musical aspect of “Miniskirt” is in true Braids-spirit: exhilaratingly minimal and massively powerful.
Deep in the Iris is an excellent step forward for the Canadian trio, incorporating characteristics from electronica, experimental creativity, and authentic musical talent on their third album. Buy the album here!

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