Within the opening seconds of “The Right Time,” it becomes blatantly apparent that Braid is not the same band they were. After all, the last time Braid put out any sort of record people were reaching the internet via dial-up, Bill Clinton was the President of the United States, and John Elway was the MVP of the latest Super Bowl. It was in 1999 that Braid released quintessential emo album Frame and Canvas, which defined the genre with unconventional song structures and distressed lyricism, among other several things. Having been on hiatus ever since, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that their 2011 EP Closer to Closed is a far cry from its aged predecessor. Noticeably more melodic and cohesive, Closer to Closed is a highly accessible release; characterized by the clear production and upbeat tendencies. This statement however, is in general not a positive one for Braid.
While Frame and Canvas was successful within the genres of emo and even post-hardcore due to its raw temperament and ambiance, Closer to Closed is a bit more ordinary in comparison; substituting its irregularity for catchiness. With this year’s EP, we see Braid testing the water with their new-found optimism, which is perfectly demonstrated through the bright melodies of “The Right Time” and tranquil ambience of Jeff Hanson cover “You Are the Reason.” Yet as buoyant as much of Closer to Closed may seem on the surface, the lyricism is demonstrative of a band that hasn’t shifted the focus of its inspiration. Lines such as “I know you want to be the one who got away” come off as a rather generic and sad for the sake of being sad; which presents Closer to Closed with a deliberate disposition. Lyricism however, is not the only chunk of the record that falls victim to this. Everything down from the wholesome vocals, to the clean production and pop hooks appear premeditated, and worst of all is that Braid sounds like every other emo-pop group in the process. Braid’s clean-cut new approach has the outfit searching for itself after a twelve year hiatus, ultimately coming out as shadows of their former selves. Closer to Closed is by no means a poor effort, perhaps even a rather solid one, but does not have the depth nor the raw emotional value that is expected of Braid, presenting their comeback EP as a rather inadequate one.
2. Do Over
3. You Are the Reason
4. Universe or Worse
Braid was an American midwest emo band from Urbana, Illinois that formed in 1993. After forming, the band went through several line-up changes but eventually settled on Bob Nanna on vocals and guitar, Todd Bell on bass, Chris Broach on guitar and vocals and Roy Ewing on drums. Roy was replaced in 1997 by Damon Atkinson. In 1999 Braid disbanded and went on to form Hey Mercedes with all band members minus Chris Broach (who went on to form The Firebird Band) and adding Mark Dawursk. ... read more