Braids fourth studio album, Shadow Offering, arrives five years after its predecessor Deep In The Iris. For those that follow the Canadian trio, there will already be an awareness that the period between records has really not been the easiest for the group. Having seen their former band member, Katie Lee, speak out publicly against the group which she left during the recording of their 2013 sophomore Flourish // Perish, they have since made peace and apologised publicly for the way in which their former colleague felt, and now use the record to showcase how far they have grown since those issues.
By dealing directly with the accusations of racism and idea-theft, alongside a wide range of political and social issues, Shadow Offering is a record that tries to understand identity. Not just the identities and thought processes of the trio that now form the group, but also the world at large.
It is in doing this that the record finds both its strengths and weaknesses. Thematically there is almost too much to process to really get to grips with the album's lyrical content within the first several listens, but with time and care allocated, what is being said is particularly poignant within the current global climate.
However, it is not just the lyrics that make an album a successful listen. Musically and production wise, Shadow Offering is truly accomplished. It is an easy listen with several interesting twists, which showcases the striking depth of insight and emotion in Raphaelle Standell-Preston's delivery.
Shadow Offering is an album that grows with each listen. It is worth investing the time it takes to unravel the beauty contained within.