Before the pop punk wing took control of emo, the genre was influenced by the churning, contrapuntal guitar acrobatics of math rock and post-core vets such as Jawbox and Fugazi. In Braid, you can hear this uneasy clash of styles in songs such as "Never Will Come For Us" and "Collect From Clark Kent," which express both sweet romantic longing and unendurable pain. Reunited after a five-year hiatus, the band captures this musical moment perfectly, poised between the frustrated, circular guitar pyrotechnics and the bright melodies and love-torn lyricism judged wimpy and 'pop' by the prevailing punk paradigm. Keyed to singer Chris Broach's wounded yelp, Braid became an unfortunate touchstone for the off-key caterwauling that characterized emo for a time, until the swelling, swooning seas of guitar were set aside for placid, poolside punk and vacuous, confessional tattooed love boys, retaining the furious pace but none of the hungry bite.
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