Six years between major releases is a long time in the music world so I made myself listen to the Birds In Row debut before getting my teeth into their second long player, We Already Lost The World. Aforementioned debut, You, Me & The Violence is a full on brutal assault, which saw them not that out of place touring with the likes of Converge and Modern Life Is War in the past.
One common thread between both releases (including the 2015 EP, Personal War) is the almost stripped back guitar tone, which allows the odd hint of melodic congeniality to escape the tumult of the rhythm section. It’s easy to forget these French lads are a three-piece at times.
However, there are definite differences on their latest release, which are apparent from the outset with opener, We Count So We Don’t Have To Listen. The brutality of the guitars seems to have given way even more to the ferocity of the drums and lead vocals. The production comes across as much more sparse, giving an impression of space between the instruments – again, this fuels the intermittent forgetting that we’re listening to a three piece.
Third track, We Vs. Us has more of an invitation to take in the lyrical element of the song, almost making the band sound vulnerable at times, before picking up again in the second half. The words are emblematic of the ‘everything is shit but we can get through it together’ cliché, mixed in with some terrible metaphors, notably…”We had been dreaming in the shape of a nutshell / And in the fortune boat we’d have secured them all / We set sails away from the sharks.” This kind of takes the meat out of the obvious volatile frustration that is prevalent on most of this album.
Birds In Row have made a conscious decision to play with and develop their sound a bit, whilst maintaining a firm grip on the hardcore genre. It pays off to an extent; although, I will admit that I went straight back to their previous two releases for a second listen over this one.
You can check this out on the bandcamp player below:
The album is available from the Birds In Row bandcamp page on (two-colour vinyl with gatefold sleeve) LP, cassette, CD or digital download.