Braids is quickly rising in the ranks of promising bands who have minimalist monikers, a group that includes acts such as Dom, Minks, Tennis and Glasser. The Canadian quartet is comprised of friends who started playing together in high school and mutually skipped university to spend time in a garage cementing — and evolving — their sound. Judging by the sweetly beating heart of the band's debut, Native Speaker, this move may just work out brilliantly. The album shimmers and swirls amid Eno-cribbed ambient electronic waterfalls; gauzy dream-pop with the off-kilter sentiment and insistence of These Are Powers and Animal Collective matches wits with the honeyed pop glaze of Electrelane and High Places. The softly gauzed vocals of Raphaelle Standell-Preston, meanwhile, offer two things: a promise of springtime and the effortless, icy sparkle of Cocteau Twins vocalist Elizabeth Fraser.
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