Review: 18 months in the making, Canada's Braids have had plenty of time to refine their work and perfect their trade ahead of this return to the release schedule. And it certainly shows. Co-produced by Chris Walla of the iconic Death Cab For Cutie, the result of this patient approach and collaborative relationship is an album that's intimate and yet massive, heartbreaking but hopeful, for want of less cliched descriptions. Tracks like 'Eclipse' perfectly exemplify what's so good about this collection. Highly emotive stuff, piano work seems capable of finding its way into our dreams, with soaring string refrains and the powerful vocal cries of Raphaelle Standell-Preston boring routes directly into your soul. Tender and also rallying, much like the rest of this record, its impact stays with you long after the final notes fade.
Review: A tour de force of instrumentation, to say the least, Basia Bulat returns with another fine display of incredible talent, displaying deft handiwork (to say the least) on piano, organ, synths, harps and more to offer an album of stark contrasts - there are infinite highs and some low lows, reflecting two extremes from the gamut of human emotion. Jim James is again called in for production duties, and the neo-punk certainly delivers, not least on the two tracks he provides guitar work for. That doesn't detract from the sense of 'Are You In Love?' being a work entirely of Bulat's own - a sumptuous exploration of folk textures, from soaring and celebratory to more subdued and filled with yearning. Exquisite stuff you really do need to hear to fully grasp.