Release Date: 13th July 2018
Genre: Screamo/Melodic Hardcore
They may have just taken home the World Cup, but France’s even greater achievement is producing one of the most consistent and underrated modern hardcore bands: Birds In Row (football fans, come at me).
For those not familiar with the band, the French power-trio have been around for just under ten years, releasing several EPs and one album, their previous release being the Personal War EP in 2015. Taking influence from melodic hardcore bands from the U.S. such as Defeater and Touché Amoré, as well as U.K. titans Dead Swans, Birds In Row have created their own brand of emotional hardcore/screamo with that distinct European twist.
We Already Lost The World is the band’s latest feature length, and being their first full album in six years (after the astounding You, Me & The Violence), many fans speculated whether the band was still intact. Suffice it to say, their sophomore release proves the fire within Birds In Row burns stronger than ever.
Despite being a three-piece, Birds In Row never fail to impress with the vast array of textures and emotions they can conjure through their music, even more so during the instrumental passages. With influences from post-rock ever present, as well as the grunge inspired ’15-38’, Birds In Row prove difficult to pigeon hole (excuse the pun). It was the more sparse, instrumental passages that drew my ear to the band, as this exalted them above the cookie cutter hardcore bands who only want to breakdown. One gets the impression that the anger and aggression found within the band’s music is the natural result of raw emotion, rather than a desire to appease mosh-hungry fans. The Track ‘Remember Us Better Than We Are’ showcases the variety of dynamics present throughout the album, starting as a high octane crowd mover, before giving way to a sombre, instrumental outro of which the likes of Slint would be proud. It is rare to find such emotional depth within hardcore/screamo music, and all the more impressive from a band who are happy to let the vocals drop out and force the audience to listen rather than participate.
All of the band’s material is performed in English in order to reach audiences outside of their homeland, and We Already Lost The World continues this trend. As well as personal issues such as loneliness being addressed, the album takes a strong political stance which, while kept vague and non-specific, can be related to “you know who”, which is beyond a domestic issue for the U.S. Despite starting with a defiant stance of resistance, the lyrics take a turn as the album progresses. Lines such as “now is the time to listen” and “love is defiance, defiance is necessary” can be found in the earlier tracks, yet the closing line of the album is “the sea runs dry, we lose hope”, before an extended instrumental outro. Considering the title, this suggests a defeated attitude from the band, an acceptance of failure. But with an album as passionate as this, I doubt this is the last we’ll be hearing from Birds In Row, even if they pull a Tool and keep us waiting a decade…
Recommended Track: ‘Remember Us Better Than We Are’