To quote its members, "Braid played 597 shows, 47 states, and 18 countries... and counting."
Aside from highlighting one prominent aspect of Braid's enduring legacy (their relentless touring ethic) the statement also makes one other fact crystal clear: the group does not view their career as a closed book, but rather one in which chapters still remain to be written.
From 1993 to 1997, as Braid carved out its musical niche, the pages of the band's history were filled with endless lists of shows played, 7"s recorded, and followers gained. Then, a year after the release of 1998's Frame and Canvas - a genre-defining album that continues to serve as an influence for countless musicians to this day - Braid disbanded at the height of its popularity.
Since that time, fans have been treated to two posthumous compilations (Movie Music Vols. 1 & 2), a short tour in 2004, and the 2010 vinyl reissues of the long out-of-print Frankie Welfare Boy Age 5, The Age of Octeen, and both Movie Music records.
But, even while Braid kept its name on the tip of peoples' tongues, the prospect of hearing brand new music from the band remained elusive - until now.
In mid-2010 the members of Braid - Chris Broach (guitar/vocals), Bob Nanna (guitar/vocals), Todd Bell (bass), and Damon Atkinson (drums) - became excited about the idea of releasing something for Record Store Day 2011 and decided to set aside time in December to get together and see what would happen.
As Bell explains, "Maybe things would not click and we'd get nothing, or we'd end up joking around the whole time like usual. Or, everything would align and we'd get some good material."
Luckily, the latter occurred and, not surprisingly from a band that recorded almost 90 songs during its initial five-year run, it took only a few practices to write three new tracks and arrange a cover (of Jeff Hanson's "You Are the Reason").
Then, when it came time to enter the studio, the choice of engineer was immediately obvious: J. Robbins (Jawbreaker, The Promise Ring,
Jets to Brazil, Frame and Canvas). Says Nanna, "We knew we wanted to record with J from the very beginning. Being in the studio with him felt like we were just picking up where Frame and Canvas ended."
And like their last studio album, Closer to Closed crackles with energy throughout. From the immediately hummable Broach-sung opener "The Right Time" to the staccato-like drumming that fills closer "Universe of Worse," Braid expands its trademark sound with new layers and textures.