First Listen: Braids, 'Deep In The Iris'

April 20, 2015 3:03 AM

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First Listen: Braids, 'Deep In The Iris'

There's placid grace to Deep In The Iris, the third and latest full-length by Braids, but don't let that fool you. Something's churning beneath the album's calm, cool surface. Unlike Flourish // Perish, the Montreal trio's icy, challenging record from 2013, Deep In The Iris represents a thaw: Throughout its nine songs, singer Raphaelle Standell-Preston and her cohorts Taylor Smith and Austin Tufts infuse skittering, Björk-like art-rock with melodic allure, confessional directness and quivering warmth. Where Flourish // Perish used prickly electronics and cavernous arrangements to hold humanity at arm's length, Deep In The Iris turns those same elements into lulling hymns to cleansing and redemption. Braids is not only more approachable than ever; it's downright magnetic.

Part of Deep In The Iris' strange charm lies in its instrumentation. Standell-Preston and her crew lean less on digitized, glitch-heavy sounds, opting instead for a more organic mix of pulsing percussion and piano. In "Letting Go," the opening keyboard chords signal an airy approach, one that Stande...

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