Braids turn accidents into assets. On their fifth studio album Euphoric Recall, the Montreal-based experimental trio allow the incidentals of human touch to cohabit with cultivated musicianship and exquisite production. A candid chuckle tucked under a satiny groove; the comical screams opening the otherwise solemn ‘Left Right’ – these moments enhance the album’s sense of life and authenticity. In a genre flooded with vacant facsimiles, this is art-pop for the conscious and the imperfect.
Self-produced over 18 months in the band’s Toute Garnie studio, Euphoric Recall is more fluid than its predecessor, the 2020 LP Shadow Offering. There are enveloping instrumental passages. There are tracks that sound as though they’ve been carefully composed and then meticulously deconstructed, leaving a rubble of looping drum machines and ASMR-esque synth sounds over which Raphaelle Standel-Preston’s distinctive vocal dances and meanders, surges and collapses. She sounds magical throughout.
If you turn your ears to one song, let it be ‘Apple’, an electrifying swirl of cosmic keyboards and compassionate harmonies that would enliven a club as it would aptly soundtrack a late-night visit to the drive-thru. Braids allow these contrasts – malleable as they are robust; dancey as they are meditative. Euphoric Recall is a perfect first taste for newcomers and the high-water mark for a band that knows exactly what they’re doing.