Adam Wray is buying cheese and records on his lunch break.
Just like every baseball nut is an armchair GM, every music nerd is an executive producer in their own mind. We’d all love to Rick Rubin our favorite act’s next project, to push them in the direction we feel they should be headed. Such a treat, then, when they end up where you hoped they would all on their own. With this in mind, I feel like Montréal’s Braids has thrown me a bone with “Amends,” lead single from their sophomore LP.
Ever since falling in love with their Native Speaker, their 2011 debut, I’ve imagined they’d make excellent dance music. Their sound is sophisticated but direct, never getting too wrapped up in its complexities, and vocalist/guitarist Raphaelle Standell-Preston would sing the shit out of a house tune. “Amends” isn’t exactly a thumping floor-filler, but it certainly hovers on the dance floor’s periphery. It’s smooth and restrained but soulful – it would sound right at home on one minimal techno label Kompakt’s compilations. Standell-Preston’s voice anchors the tune, her straight vocal line weaving through chopped-up snatches of itself. Bits of live percussion are scattered over a steady, electronic drumbeat, and humming synths rise and dissolve. There’s no great release here – “Amends” simmers along steadily and recedes just as smoothly.
Until recently, Braids recorded and tour as a four-piece – “Amends” is the first song they’ve written as a trio, which explains why it finds them doing more with less. Braids are one of the tightest live acts I’ve had the pleasure of seeing, so it will be interesting to see how they rejig their older material. “Amends” will be released on a 12″ with live staple “In Kind” and two b-sides in early June.