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Braid – Closer to Closed EP

on August 17, 2011, 7:58am

Seminal 90’s emo-core band Braid broke some hearts when they hung up their guitars back in 1999. But 2011 found the band back in the studio laying down their new EP, Closer to Closed. Though traditionalists may find the album too different from Braid’s older material, on the whole, the EP is an enjoyable listen for present-day fans of the bands that followed in their footsteps.

At four tracks, Closer to Closed just gets the listener warmed up before it ends all too abruptly. The tracks are interesting and well-developed, and it’s hard to stomach the fact that this is not a full album. Purists will note the change in sound; Braid has hung up their lo-fi production values. This record reminds one more of recent Get Up Kids—or, at times, Death Cab for Cutie with a hell of a lot more energy—than it does Fugazi or other 90’s bands.

Opener “The Right Time”, in particular, sounds very little like Braid’s older music. And not to knock their previous material, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Unlike the deep guitar fuzz on most classic 90’s emo, you hear the lyrics on Closer to Closed, and they’re actually pretty good. Second track “Do Over” has “single” written all over it, with a bouncy, cheerful breakup vibe: “Now’s the part where I break your heart/Do you have another one in you/like I do?”

Cover “You Are the Reason” is fine if a little weepy, and closer “Universe or Worse” spaces out in the way of most mid-album material, except that it’s actually the end (hence the startle reflex when your iTunes switches to the next album). If this is the caliber of what Braid’s writing nowadays, though, I’ll hold out hope for a full effort.

Essential Tracks: “Do Over”, “The Right Time”

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