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Native Speaker [CD]

Braids Audio CD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
Price: 10.51 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Product details

  • Audio CD (4 April 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Kanine
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 117,582 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Lemonade
2. Plath Heart
3. Glass Deers
4. Native Speaker
5. Lammicken
6. Same Mum
7. Little Hand

Product Description

BBC Review

Bands who have achieved massive success in less fashionable climes seem to be approached with an unfair level of caution: the suspicion that they must be doing something wrong to not have made it in the UK earlier.

German punk-rockers with reggae sympathies by reputation, Beatsteaks are multi-platinum stars and an awkward sell on paper here. On record, they’re better described as straight-up pop-rock band with some raucous elements and slow jams sprinkled intermittently into the mix. Boom Box is their sixth studio album and, despite a push from a major label for the first time in this country, is unlikely to change their status on these shores.

It’s not because they’re bad, just idiosyncratic to the point where rock fans conditioned to acts exhibiting myriad influences might not be able to decide whether they’re dated, clichéd or just too different to palette. Fix It is a disorientating opener with a characteristically eccentric streak, Arnim Teutoburg-Weiß’s fluent but second-language lyrics (he sings in English) swirling into the mix alongside laughs and cries that all seem powered by the reverb that accompanies them like a minder. The Biffy Clyro-esque Under a Clear Blue Sky might have been their best bet for the first single in this country – as it stands, Milk & Honey’s repeated unironic references to "cool cats" could well mark them for commercial death.

Arriving just before the halfway point, Bullets from Another Dimension manages to combine all their best qualities to ensure the album finishes stronger than it starts: fast breaks, crooned choruses and life-affirming lyrics neatly explain their (mass) appeal. Access Adrenalin and Behaviour are the best of what follows, as they do what Beatsteaks do best: sound friendly and familiar rather than derivative, while radiating enough confidence for you to trust and indulge them. The more down-tempo, far-out and less-rousing moments – and there are a few of them – require more patience. So, while there are more than a just a few ex-pats who will discover and enjoy them for the first time here, they can expect to stay largely lost in translation.

--Alistair Lawrence

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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
4.0 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Music to haunt you 26 Aug 2012
Format:Audio CD
Length: 0:44 Mins
I first discovered this band around April 2011. They received a near full page four out of five star review in Q magazine. I thought they sounded interesting, but very difficult. As in they could be good, but it would take about ten listens for them to change from unlistenable arty sludge and into quite good in a polite, that isn't too bad actually kind of way. More effort than they could possibly be worth.

They were put to the back of my mind as a future possibility. And then I forgot all about them.

Then at the start of 2012 I was reading some old magazines when I came across that review again. This time I was properly intrigued by them. The mini interview published beside the review was full of interesting information. Such as it took nine months to record, and cost less than five hundred dollars to make (drum microphones and mastering were the only expenses).

It also fascinated me that they considered an obscure album called Feels by Animal Collective to be their year zero for music. It was appealingly odd as it's usually punk or The Beatles or Oasis or Elvis that revs peoples' motors up in such a big way. The band had to be doing something different to the norm with such an unexpected source of inspiration.

So I bought the forty-three minute Canadian art rock album. It wasn't as hard to enjoy as I expected. I don't remember outright liking it straightaway. I probably thought it was a bit so-so. Only the opening track was satisfying from the off.

It was strangely moreish. I found myself being drawn to re-listen to it again and again. Even though I felt it was a bit rubbish, it was rubbish in an interesting way.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Braids - The natives are getting restless 5 Feb 2011
Format:MP3 Download|Verified Purchase
A Braid is a complex structure or pattern formed by intertwining three or more strands of flexible material. In the case of this new Canadian band from Calgary the formation can be detected in a mix of dreamy atmospheric shozgaze pop which brings together some of the preoccupations of Beach House with more out and out rock of their country contemporaries Broken Social Scene and with a hint of Bjork in her Sugarcubes guise. As such "Native Speaker" is a very impressive debut album, which shows promise to spare and a real willingness to take chances. The music blogs have been foaming at the mouth at the prospect of Braids debut LP and it is pleasing to report a fine new discovery.

One of the prime reasons for this is lead singer Raphaelle Standell-Preston's ethereal voice that performs all sort of complex gymnastics and the bands underpinning instrumentation based on bubbling euphoric synthesized backgrounds, which often break into huge waves of sound and noise, Ms Preston sweetness also disguises a rather dirty mouth. She starts the long but very commercial opener and album highlight "Lemonade" with the impertinent question "Have you f*****d all the stray kids yet"? This song verges on electronic perfection and is key references point. Other songs which standout include the dark and primal "Glass Deers" a nearly eight minute building wail of all kinds of synth loops and gentle vocal injects which grow into a force of nature and is instilled with a confidence that the Animal Collective would admire. "Lammickan" has some of that quality that makes Fever Ray so special and grows from a gradual chant to a synth wall of sound. "Same mum" alternatively could be played in a disco and ticks over at a sparkling pace reviving warm memories of the great Liz Fraser of the Cocteau Twins.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD
Call me tight but whenever I see an 'album' that consists of a measely seven tracks, I feel chagrin at shelling out my hard earned dollars for such a limited return. Yet, in the case of Braids, each of these wonderfully expansive tracks was worth every penny.

In Native Speaker, this group have crafted a dream-like debut which manages to beguile the listener with various layerings of instrumentation accompanied by bewitching vocals. It is sun-drenched but very far from the sort of saccharine drivel that some purveyors of modern psych-pop are guilty of producing. The opening triumvirate of tracks are immensely engaging, particularly Glass Deers which amounts to the sweetest post binge comedown ever. These songs sprawl but never self-indulgently. Their meandering content is consistently laced with sonic ingenuity, be it well placed harmonies or gentle chimes reminiscent of the most euphoric moments that you can recollect.

The clearest influences I can discern are Animal Collective, for their restless willingness to push and subvert boundaries, and MGMT, for their lush production values and mainstream psych-pop appeal. However, Braids have genuinely crafted a luminous sound that defies easy categorisation (for instance, this jaded listener can even discern elements of The Knife in the closing track Little Hand).

All in all, this is a remarkable debut that promises much. My only reason for not awarding it five stars is because I feel certain that there is still a lot to come from this seductive group.
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