Braids - Native Speaker (2011)

Press Release:

With their album "Native Speaker", the young members of Braids have created an album that transcends both their age and geographic location. Raphaelle Standell-Preston (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.


Braids was formed by four best friends in their last year of high school. Convincing one another to skip university, they stayed in the garage all year and practiced obsessively, even while their fingers froze during the cold prairie winters in Calgary, Alberta. Then the band –still in their teens– took the bold step of moving across the country together to Montreal, where they began crafting what would become their debut album Native Speaker.

The band’s music reflects an extraordinary, deep-seated maturity originating from time spent playing and growing together in their formative years. With an unusually collaborative dynamic, the bond between the four friends (drummer/vocalist Austin Tufts, guitarist/vocalist Raphaelle Standell-Preston, multi-instrumentalist/vocalist Taylor Smith and keyboardist/vocalist Katie Lee) remains as impermeable – and remarkable – as ever.

Native Speaker
Album art: 
Release date: 
320 kbps

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

Music label: 
Kanine Records
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