Braid: Closer to Closed


It seems like you can't turn a corner without running smack into some newly reunited 1990s rock band these days. Midwestern post-hardcore purveyors Braid dissolved in 2000, with everyone but guitarist Chris Broach going on to form the comparatively lightweight Hey Mercedes. Broach is back for Braid's first collection of recorded material in more than 10 years, and in fact it's Broach who kicks things off, contributing lead vocals to Closer to Closed's opener "The Right Time." The Bob Nanna-sung "You Are the Reason" was written by Jeff Hanson, a friend of the group who died suddenly in 2009. It's a lovely tune and a nice tribute, but glaringly divergent from the band's signature math-y sound. The 16-minute EP is atypically understated. Though it hints at that old Braid feel - seriously spunky and a little unhinged - songs such as "Universe or Worse" are distinctly more mellow, like the sound of emo entering middle age. (3 out of 5 stars)