Following the departure of keyboardist Katie Lee, Flourish//Perish takes a decidedly electronic turn, as the band trade in their guitars for synthesizers.
Originally hailing from Calgary, Braids are now based in Montreal and produced Flourish//Perish right out of their garage-cum-studio. The atmosphere of writing in the seclusion of their windowless garage, through the deep of a Montreal winter, along with the departure of Lee, has likely influenced the electronic and introspective tone of their latest album. Flourish//Perish, though not as immediately catching as their Polaris prize nominated art rock debut, Native Speaker, is one of those albums that grows with each listen.
The opening track Victoria begins with the sonic ebb and flow of synthesized pops panning left to right, as singer Raphaelle Standell-Preston coos, “My father always said, to get out of my head”. The album continues in this vein, as the sparse layers, repetitive, minimalist rhythms and the ethereal, childlike vocal quality of Standell-Preston slowly engulf you.
Despite the complex rhythms and heady electronic layers, the downbeat atmosphere of the album is undemanding on its listener. As if in a daydream, Braids nudge you gently into their sound world, and pull you further inside yourself.
The energy picks up for the last track on the album, “In Kind”. As drummer Austin Tufts takes to the drum kit, Standell-Preston’s sweet, piercing voice squeals lines such as “Left my conscience in quotations”, and slowly, you awaken from your reverie.