Braid, No Coast

Megan Seling

By Megan Seling

on 07.08.14 in Reviews

I’m so glad Braid broke up. It’s not that I wasn’t sorry to see them go — I was — but their 1999 break-up spared fans from having to watch the Illinois-based band press on well past their expiration, the same way so many of their late-’90s emo peers did (coughjimmyeatworldcough).

A stellar comeback

After hearing No Coast, Braid’s first full-length album since disbanding, I’m even more confident the temporary disappearing act was worth it; No Coast is a stellar comeback.

“Bang” starts by teasing us with 20 seconds of pretty, unremarkable guitar fiddling. It isn’t clear that No Coast is anything worth getting excited about until singer Bob Nanna cries out the title — “Bang!” — and the song explodes.

No Coast


And with that, Braid returns in full, employing the familiar glittery guitar, patient drum work, and melodies that manage to be both fragmented but fluid thanks to the band’s ability to flawlessly shift time signatures.

Though the music may be familiar, No Coast boasts a much bigger and brighter production thanks to Will Yip, who’s also worked with Tigers Jaw, Man Overboard, and Title Fight. And the vocals on songs like “Damages,” “Lux” and “Put Some Wings on that Kid” are delivered with a playfulness that didn’t seem to exist before. On “Lux,” Nanna sings “You don’t really wanna sit around and give up/ as long as we’re living we should live it up” and you can practically hear the smile on his lips.

Once upheld as emo’s poster boys, today’s Braid is having fun, giving us all permission to turn to our teenage selves, the ones who put “Forever Got Shorter” on every mixtape we ever made, and say “Lighten up, kid.”

I’m glad you left us, Braid. But I’m even happier about the fact that we finally have you back.