Braids : Native Speaker

2011 | CD/LP/Digital | 022

With their debut Native Speaker, the young members of Braids have created an album that transcends both their age and geographic location.  Raphaelle Standell-Preston (lead vocals, guitar), Austin Tufts (drums, vocals), Katie Lee (keys, vocals) and Taylor Smith (guitar, bass, vocals) have distilled their individual output into minute, minimalist parts and then generated all of their collective sounds into a sweeping, synergistic maelstrom. Meticulously produced by the band, Native Speaker emerges as an extremely potent concoction of playful, lavishly orchestrated and deeply cinematic pieces  – all without a sample in sight.

The album oscillates between textural density and heavenly spaciousness to construct an unforgettable pop tune. “Lemonade”, the opening track, gently nudges and softly beckons the listener into an expansive, feathery space. It is this particular atmospheric warmth, paired with Standell-Preston’s undeniably emotional, sassy, and truly evocative vocal style, that envelops the listener into the patiently paced, seven song cycle of Native Speaker.

“Plath Heart” contrasts tripwire rhythm with elaborate melody to push and pull the listener through an array of emotions. “Glass Deers” consistently challenges and rewards throughout its eight minutes of detailed layering of melodic vocal and instrumental phrases, and “Lammicken” sensually pulsates to Standell-Preston’s hypnotic vocal line, while ribbons of stretched sounds comfortably weave between layered voices.

With Native Speaker, Braids condense the experience of their youth to capture an essence of being, profoundly universal and erring on the side of art. Listening to Native Speaker is hearing the sound of four kindred spirits intersect gloriously, joyously, and in collective discovery.

Track Listing

1. Lemonade
2. Plath Heart
3. Glass Deers
4. Native Speaker
5. Lammicken
6. Same Mum
7. Little Hand



“Native Speaker is the kind of debut that gets hailed as "the beginning of…" years down the road."
- Exclaim (“Mark of Excellence”)

“It’s every bit as mesmerizing and vertiginous as desire can be.”
- New York Times

 “It is near flawless.”
- Regina Leader-Post 

“Somebody please take this record away from me. I can’t stop listening to it.”
- Globe and Mail, 4/5 stars

- Montreal Mirror, 8.5/10

“The year’s first truly outstanding record.”
- Eye Weekly, 5 Stars

“Native Speaker is assured and impressive.”

"Smooth on the outside, savage within.”
- Spin Magazine, 8/10

"Stunningly assured and accomplished debut"
- Toronto Star

design + development: Structured Abstraction

Produced In Co-Operation with promofact