Friday, July 3rd, 2020
Jul 03, 2020
By Candace McDuffie
There’s a certain aesthetic that Braids’ latest album Shadow Offering manages to encapsulate. Its beauty is intentionally layered and ruminative; frontwoman Raphaelle Standell-Preston possesses ethereal vocals that effortlessly elevate their tracks. The Canadian facet specializes in temperamental art rock, and Shadow Offering kindly connects the dots from where 2015’s Deep in the Iris left off. At just nine tracks long, the record unfolds in a brief but stunningly pervasive way.
Opening track “Here 4 U” is a gentle and pensive introduction in which celestial melodies give way to Standell-Preston’s love of climatic buildups. “Young Buck,” perhaps the catchiest song on the album, is infused with synth-y soundscapes that err on the side of dreamy. “Eclipse (Ashley)” and “Just Let Me” relish in their smoldering quiet and slow burn pathos. “Upheaval II” balances delicacy with fiery guitar riffs.
Most powerful is the nine-minute-long “Snow Angel,” which serves as a galvanizing wake-up call. Everything from white privilege and climate change—as well as complicity in harmful systems—are mentioned but only scratch the surface. The urgency of the song is obvious and seething, ripe with the kind of messaging of our current cultural zeitgeist. “Ocean” centers on emotional juxtapositions that leave listeners with more questions than answers.
While certain songs implore the public to reflect on the state of the world, closer “Note to Self” focuses on an internal struggle in which resilience is the ultimate goal. Shadow Offering is as bold and lush as the group who composed it, but that should be no surprise: sonic transcendence is what Braids do best. (www.braidsmusic.com)
Author rating: 8.5/10
Rate this album
Average reader rating: 7/10
No ratings have been recorded yet.