Album Review: Braids – Shadow Offering

One of the more satisfying things we experience in campus/community radio is being able to follow a band from their very start, as an unknown act releasing their first independent tracks, to a successful and better known artist. Braids is a band like this. Starting as high school friends in a short lived band, The Neighbourhood Council, the core trio of the band, Raphaelle Standell-Preston, Austin Tufts and Taylor Smith, went on to form Braids, and released a debut EP in 2008. They have four albums to their credit, and earned a Juno award for their last album, Deep in the Iris, in 2015. The band, who are now based in Montreal, plays a drony form of electronic-pop, firmly rooted in pop accessibility. Shadow Offering sees the band in shimmering electro-pop territory, much like a modern version of Kate Bush or Sarah McLachlan, or like Portishead with a softer edge. This is also their first album for the Montreal-based Secret City Label. “Snow Angel”, the first single, sounds just like its title, slow, lilting and peaceful. The album mostly keeps on that tack, with subtle electronic flourishes carrying along Standell-Preston‘s delicate but strong voice. This is a wonderful album that taps into their earliest, more abstract work, but clearly shows them focused on what lies ahead.

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