A horrible hack

Braid

No Coast

Year Released: 2014
Format: LP
Label: Topshelf Records
 
Reviewed by Andy Malcolm on Sep 5, 2014
Ok. Had to psyche myself up for this one. Poured myself a glass of Evil Twin ďMolotov CocktailĒ. Lay down on the bean bag. Felt like itíd be easier to just not write this. Just listen to Duster instead, booze myself to sleep, drift off. You see, me and Braid go way back. Way way back. Not as way back as some of you, and well, they donít know me but I was stalking them in 1998. That Ď98 show upstairs at the Garage. That Ď13 show downstairs at the Garage. They were both something. Quite the something. I never would have expected a reformed emo band to deliver on quite the scale they did last year, but that they did. I was sweating off the pounds. I put them back on again. I was punching the air, jumping around, I was hugging James Bunten, we were so thrilled. Braid were nailing it, Iíd never seen anything like it. In 15 years.

And here is No Coast. I canít think that this is the kind of album that many late 30 somethings want to be listening to. Maybe a few who got left behind, the few that really do only listen to those same late 90s records over and over again. Iíve got vastly more than my share. I listen to those plenty. But I also have a bunch of new records and those records arenít basically pop punk albums. Which is what this is. To be brutal for a moment - Braid is like Less than Jake. Just playing pop punk to an audience of aging people who know all the lyrics and will hang on every word, and thatís fine, Iíd go and see Braid tomorrow if they said they were playing in the UK, no question, but I donít need a new LP that sounds like this. Hard truth. I had to face it.

Itís far from a bad record. I like Very Emergency as much as the next guy. The next guy is probably you. No Coast is basically in same vein as that album, but 15 years too late. Itís like Hey Mercedes happened and is still going. Nothing wrong with that either. I enjoy all the Hey Mercedes records. I can enjoy this record even. It has some belters on it. Lux is a masterpiece and probably the only song on here that could have accidentally been left off Frame and Canvas. I think I just hoped that a bunch of dudes a similar age to me might make a slightly more restrained album, a bit more contemplative, something conjured from years of experience, but then perhaps the experiences of the people in this band have led to them writing something far more upbeat and bouncy than I, personally, selfishly, would have desired.

I think the artwork does a great job of summing up the record. Itís got a great mid 90s trope - telegraph poles - but itís such a mess. Slapdash. A great foundation let down by average implementation. Thatís this LP. Entirely decent, but ultimately just that, decent. Sorry Braid. I really hope you donít ever read this. I know you are doing exactly what you want, and I donít begrudge that, but, a few grumpy bastards like me, we just want something else these days.

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