The title of Braid‘s newest album No Coast is a bit ambiguous. For the common Midwesterner it’s a nod to their ocean-less borders. And in that sense saying a lot about where this album has roots. But for Braid specifically it means so much more. It marks a second run at an already storied career.
Having waited 16 years to release a new album Braid knew that they couldn’t sit idly by in hopes that the romance of a reunion would be enough to inspire an album. This is just an old fashioned Midwestern lyrical grind that managed to be hammered out over the course of three weekends. And like coal to diamond, the pressure worked to Braid’s advantage.
On “East End Hollows” you get the best of both worlds – the lithe riffing and turbulent drumming of years past, and a lyrical rhythm that projects natural growth and maturation: [ ]
Another drink, another lifetime of regrets
Another song so we can sing along
Another friend to never call on
Another night to be forgotten
But you take these dreams and throw them out the window
Yeah, you take these dreams and throw them out the window
Braid sticks to what they know best without falling into the pit trap of nostalgia. Songs like “Damages!” remain fun and lively, but sound timeless with a lyrical base that embraces the carefree musings of Braid lore: [ ]
I need drive
Otherwise I might dance in the traffic
I’ll take two quick shots of the system crystals
A medicine if you have it
Do you have it?
What makes No Coast a success is the collaborative writing effort and its ability to wrap itself seamlessly into Braid’s signature sound. There are moments that are tucked away for a specific audience, but because of the affable nature of the instrumentation it becomes universal and relatable. On songs like “Light Crisis” and “Put Some Wings on That Kid” Bob Nanna incorporates intimate details of meeting his birth parents for the first time. Ideas like that open up whole new emotional avenues for Braid to maneuver through.
“This Is Not a Revolution” punctuates the album in a surprisingly firm footed way. The slow Phil Collins like percussion and slashing and burning riffs are dramatic intros for a statement that still – after all these years – isn’t afraid to make grand statements: [LISTEN]
Business is good and the children are high
And we’re counting coffee beans
Soaking up the energy
And writing old biographies
Of ancient men who sabotaged