Braids Native Speaker
“What I’ve found is that we are all just sleeping around.” So goes an early refrain on “Lemonade,” the opening cut from Native Speaker, the full-length debut of Montreal-via-Calgary four-piece Braids. Lead vocalist Raphaelle Standell-Preston counters that realization later in the same song with “all we want to do is love.” That feeling of push and pull directly mirrors the many aquatic movements of her band’s blend of avant-pop. Standell-Preston rarely strays from explicitly sexual imagery, but Braids draws from sources as boldly percussive as Gang Gang Dance and Animal Collective. The latter’s influence is inescapable here, be it in the Avey Tare-like screams of “Glass Deers,” the echoes of Panda Bear on the title track, or the harmonic richness of it all. Even when the songs struggle to find their end, Native Speaker remains a remarkably confident first outing. On the standout “Plath Heart,” guitar and sequencer-based melodies combine, then branch like coral. Standell-Preston yelps about pushing out babies, drummer Austin Tufts keeps tribal time, and at no point does it ever feel like anything but pop.