Like a lot of indie bands in emo’s second wave, Illinois-based Braid worked hard with little reward, touring continually and releasing an impressive amount of music. Then after six years, it burned out and broke up. (That coincided with the rise of emo’s much more lucrative third wave, which incorporated a more streamlined, poppier sound.) Braid regrouped for a short tour in 2004 around the DVD release of Killing A Camera, a documentary about the band’s final shows, but it had no plans to release new material.
That changed last year when Braid discussed recording a single for Record Store Day, which eventually turned into the new four-song EP Closer To Closed. Recorded by frequent collaborator J. Robbins (who also helmed the band’s 1998 swan song, Frame And Canvas), Closer To Closed let the members of Braid re-indulge in their songwriting chemistry without the pressures of being in a band. The subtitle might as well be This Is A Fun Hobby For Us When We Have Time, Just Don’t Expect A Tour. Singer-guitarist Bob Nanna wrote the three originals on the EP—the other is a cover of Jeff Hanson’s “You Are The Reason”—with singer-guitarist Chris Broach taking lead vocals on the opener, “The Right Time.” Broach’s voice sounds thin, but his and Nanna’s guitars easily slip into their knotty interplay, building to an excellent chorus. The same follows on “Do Over,” with Nanna taking over lead vocals. The EP comes and goes in 16 minutes, but it’s nice to see Braid picking up as if 10 years hadn’t passed. Here’s hoping more music follows.