REVIEW: Braid – “Closer To Closed”

When I did a review of The Get Up Kids’ reunion full length, I ended the review saying “reunion records are always a little touch and go, right?”, and this is another example of that. See, I love Braid. Being into the music that I am, this is almost a given. All three of their proper full lengths fall high on my list of favorite records. Shit, the two compilations records (Movie Music one and two) are somewhere on that list too. Everything this band did was pretty fucking great.

With all this in mind, I went into this EP with really high expectations. As is usually the case, I was kind of disappointed. What we have hear is four songs (three originals, one cover) of varying quality. The production is way too glossy, which is surprising since this was produced by J. Robbins. Everything is just kind of off.

The album opens with “The Right Time.” It has Chris Broach singing lead. It features some of the hallmarks one would expect on a Braid release, but is maybe just a little too poppy. This is actually my general complaint about the record in general. Between the glossy production, and mellower music, it just feels like this record is without teeth.

“Do Over” is the second track, this time (and for the remainder of the record) has Bob Nanna on lead. His voice has gotten a lot cleaner sounding. It is more Hey Mercedes-ish than it is Braid. The lyrics just make it a little too meta. Especially for a reunion record. Talking about wanting a do over and asking “so do you have another one in you like I do” is maybe just a little on the nose.

“You Are The Reason” is next. It is a cover of a Jeff Hanson song. Having never heard the original, I can speak to it’s quality versus the original. It has some piano worked in, but is otherwise more of the same.

“Universe Or Worse” rounds of the record. It is my favorite on the record. Some of Bob Nanna’s vocal inflections are kind of weird on the song, but it is what it is. Though at just short of six minutes, it just seems to go on too long. it is would have stayed in the three to four minute range like the rest, it could have been great.

I know I just sound like a bitter asshole. Braid last released a proper record in 1998. 13 years later, it is stupid for me to expect them to sound the same. I know it makes sense that this sounds like a Hey Mercedes record more than “traditional” Braid record. It all boils down to expectations, and mine were way too high. Who knows, maybe my opinion will change after a few more listens. But, for now, I am just kind of disappointed. To draw a comparison to a band that existed in the same scene, Closer to Closed is to Braid as Wood/Water is to The Promise Ring. It is not a bad record, it just is not what I was stoked to hear.

Maybe I will start being a little more wary of reunion records.

Braid (Official)
Buy It (Polyvinyl Records)

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