Complete with complex layers, penetrating vocals and tracks over seven minutes, Native Speaker seems more like the product of a well-seasoned group rather than four people making their first impression on the music world. The album reflects the youth of Braids, as its sound is hopeful and perpetually moving toward the future.
Forming after high school in Calgary, Alberta, the four members of Braids moved to Montreal to record and produce their debut album. Not settling for anything less than their vision, Native Speaker’s tracks are intentionally lengthy, allowing the band to build upon the layers on which the album’s pieces are founded.
The songs on the seven-track LP generally start simple, and then add more instruments and rhythms as the songs progress. The vocals provide interesting contrasts, from blending into the supporting music (particularly when lead singer Raphaelle Standell-Preston curses), to piercing it with a powerful scream. The steady, driving beat and motion of each song propels Native Speaker forward with instruments and vocals that swell together to create a larger-than-life sound. Each track also stands separately to form a contrast, always leaving the listener with a feeling of resolution at the end of each phrase.
Difficult to place in just one genre, Braids creates a colorful atmosphere around its songs that completely immerse the listener in its movement. Despite the array of sounds happening at once, the music is never out of control or difficult to follow. With Native Speaker, Braids never stops too long to check out the specific details of the scenery, allowing the listener to soak in the bigger picture of the journey.