Braids have been taking the time and space necessary for little miracles to occur. Burrowed in their Montreal studio, the band has spent the better part of three years crafting Shadow Offering, their 4th album, via their new label home, Secret City.
The band sketched and re-sketched new material for eighteen months before lucky circumstance found Chris Walla (Death Cab For Cutie) renting out space in their studio. The four began wandering into each others’ rooms, curious about each others’ projects. Typically opting for a private and insular creation process, the friendship between the four saw the band sharing their songs with Walla, and naturally resulted in Walla co-producing and engineering Shadow Offering. Pushing the band out of their comfort zone, he at once broke and unified the band’s dynamic, unearthing individual creative energy long buried over the years. With a new sense of confidence, listeners will find Braids at their most personal, unabashedly flexing through their new music.
A luscious and expansive release, Shadow Offering leads us through a sonic tapestry of narrative. With heart-breaking honesty and precision, listeners traverse a nuanced and complicated world: one full of beautiful contradiction. Although the album directs itself at the failures of people to love and be loved, it also seeks to restore justice and attain blissful union. Its arc crests through the dark towards the light and learns how to dance with the dizzying rhythms of the heart. The songs bubble, sustain, dissolve, expand, retract.
The creative process saw Tufts exploring groovier and more supportive rhythms, while Standell-Preston and Smith picked up their guitars in a serious way, something they hadn’t done since Native Speaker. Young Buck, Shadow Offering’s lead single, sees Braids at their most playful and confident. An effervescent ode to impossible love, it exudes an undeniable magnetism reminiscent of the band’s breakthrough works Lemonade and Plath Heart.
With Shadow Offering, Standell-Preston’s voice is visceral as always, conveying a new confidence and rawness we’ve yet to hear from her. Fans of commanding 90’s songwriters like Fiona Apple and Alanis Morissette will relish in her voice’s strength and lyrical aptitude.