It has been a busy 2013 musically for Raphaelle Standell-Preston, lead singer and all around just-leader of Montreal band Braids. The year started with Standell-Preston re-teaming with her longtime friend, Alexandar Gowan to record a sophomore album for Standell-Preston’s side project Blue Hawaii (Standell-Preston actually started Blue Hawaii before Braids). Now, for the second half of the year, Standell-Preston is leading the charge for the release of Braids’ sophomore record, Flourish // Perish.
I have two similar opinions regarding Standell-Preston’s projects. One, I loved Native Speaker, the debut record of Braids released back in 2011. It was actually my second favorite record of the year. The mixture of anger and vulnerability in the record just spoke well to my soul that few records ever could. Second, I enjoyed Blue Hawaii‘s Untogether, released earlier this year. While I prefer the guitars within Braids‘ music, the electronic pulses of Untogether just blended well with the raw femininity of Blue Hawaii‘s words.
With Flourish // Perish, there seems to be a merging of the worlds between Braids and Blue Hawaii. Especially with the departure of Braids founding member Katie Lee, Standell-Preston has turned increasingly to the electronic beats found in Blue Hawaii to input into the music of Braids. There are still strands of Braids, as we originally know from Native Speaker existing in Flourish // Perish – its experimental, artful form for one. But this is a new look for Braids. And while I miss the Native Speaker era, change is always a challenge and I look forward to what Braids and Standell-Preston do with it going forward.
Stream the video for standout track In Kind embedded below.
Braids – Flourish // Perish comes out 8/20 via Arbutus (order here)