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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Thursday, September 28, 2023

Record Routine: Braids provides breath of fresh air on Deep in the Iris

Once again with the release of their third full-length album, Deep in the Iris, Braids have continued with their tradition of being non-traditional. The majority of the songs on this album were written in locations across the United States that foster to the members’ creativity, from a cabin in the mountains of rural Arizona to a Walden-esque homestead in Vermont. These serene environments helped contribute to the shift once again in musical style. Deep in the Iris abandons the thick electronics and instead capitalizes on gripping song topics and a more organic use of piano and rhythm.

In Deep in the Iris, the vocals have been turned up a few decibels, allowing singer Raphaelle Standell-Preston’s honest lyrics to shine through. In a press release by the band, it is explained that the album tackles relevant issues such as “...pornography, abuse, and slutshaming.”

Perhaps one song that stands out the most when speaking of these issues is “Miniskirt.” The first half, which is a stark criticism on slutshaming and misogyny, then evolves into a story of Standell-Preston’s personal experiences with prejudice. When asked in an interview about the lyrics “I’m not a man-hater / I enjoy them like cake”, Standell-Preston explained that she does not want to come across as a person who hates men. She enjoys loving them and showing them affection, and she doesn’t want the feminist undertones of the song to give people the wrong idea.

The album continues to use its light piano and percussion to explore relationships and love. “Taste” tells the story of giving up on a love but then regretting and wanting it back. A piano postlude then divulges the album title, where Standell-Preston’s soft vocals belt, “And Deep in the Iris, you see a place of hope.” Deep in the Iris ends on a positive note in “Warm Like Summer,” equivocating love with the warmth of a summer day.

Perhaps the best way to explain the album is found in the title itself: the down-to-earth lyrics and simple, airy melodies and rhythm leave an album that stares you straight in the eyes. The intense subject matter paired with natural sound that comes together in perfect harmony, and I am excited to see what musical evolution Braids pursue in the future.

Rating: A-

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