Braids Release Tragically Beautiful EP


Companion, the newest EP by Braids, rings in at approximately 19 minutes long, but carries more emotion than some full length albums.

The EP follows the story of singer Raphaelle Standell-Preston’s recovery after being sexually abused. The eerie feeling of each song strongly parallels with the emotions that were confronted during the healing process, and were carried into a tragically beautiful EP.

Braids Crafts Hauntingly Raw Tracklist

The EP begins with “Companion,” a haunting and personal tale which alludes to the sexual abuse of singer Standell-Preston. Braids makes use of echoes and layers to give even the accordion a hauntingly distant and lingering sound.

Standell-Preston’s voice has an innocence to it (think Ingrid Michaelson mixed with Birdy) at first, but as the song progresses she is able to project a powerful and full tone (more Florence Welch of Florence and the Machine). It very much feels like a distant memory she is recounting, from her soft vocal introduction to the fading of the piano at the end.

The next song, “Joni,” is introduced with more of a techno beat and shows Braids’ experimental side. There is a repetitive, arcade game-sounding loop that is met with Preston’s pure voice at the beginning, but then it winds down — like a powerhouse shutting down — only to be brought back to life by crying vocals and crashing cymbals. The bridge showcases Preston’s range, as she jumps from full, deep notes to pristine high notes, and leads to an abrupt end to the song.

“Trophies For Paradox,” brings more dissonance to the EP, using instrumentals that could almost be considered atonal. The opening piano is soft and Preston brings back her innocent voice, but this time there is a tinge of resentment that burns its way through the experimental beats. The raw lyrics and mixture of classical and techno instrumentals give the song an effect that can be unnerving in the best way. (Note: for best results, listen through quality headphones.)

Ending the EP is “Sweet World,” which best exemplifies Preston’s vocal range. She easily glides up and down from note to note while keeping in sync with the quick tempo. The song has a very underwater sound and Preston’s voice could easily be compared to the luring sound of a siren singing to a sailor.

Braids is currently supporting Companion with a summer tour.

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