Review Summary: French newcomers Birds in Row prove with their first full length that they are a force to be reckoned with.
With two EPs under their belt that were praised but went mostly unnoticed, a recent signing to Deathwish Inc. and one hell of a live show, Birds in Row have certainly been making a name for themselves. If there's one thing people have come to expect from a Deathwish release, it is a raw and full frontal assault on your ear drums. Much like the album's title, this is truly you, the band and a bit of violence with no kind of limitations.
On previous offering, Cottbuss, Birds in Row played a brand of hardcore that while not unique, was energetic and brimming with untapped potential. Opener, "Pilori"
kicks off with short feedback before descending into pure aggression and it is immediately apparent that this is not the same band as before. The untapped potential has finally been realized with vocalist/guitarist, Bart who shows he has changed. The guitar work does not take on the simplistic sound out of their EPs, but instead is loaded with feedback, dissonance, off minor chords and is seething with anger. The vocals are filled with pain and hatred and on the first half of the two parter self titled track, "Last Last Chance"
, Bart breaks things up by showing that while he doesn't have the most beautiful of voices, he certainly has a passionate and emotion filled one. Birds in Row have always had quite mature lyrics, and this album is no different. It has a deep seated feeling of apathy and an abundance of lyrical genius such as tracks "There is Only One Chair in This Room"
where Bart desperately pleads "When nothing seems clear through the cleanest window, the obvious would say the problem's not in and the doors will stay closed for all strangers. May my building burn and I will surely burn into it."
where he laments "I’m condemned to lose something I cherish. And to let it all go in a mutual contentment, watching the floor getting closer to my face."
On the rhythm side of things, the drums and bass hold things down just fine. Ditow's bass, while nothing overly impressive, compliments the guitar work quite well and has an absolutely crushing and beautifully dirty tone. The man behind the drum kit, Timmy, is very much the same. On previous EPs, he used some rather odd drum beats that were catchy and complimented the musical wonderfully. Here, he goes for your more typical hardcore/screamo drumming but is more solid than ever.
The first third of this album will find you being assaulted quite violently until middle track "Last Last Chance"
, breaks things up with a slow and passionate atmosphere akin to the outro of Cottbus, featuring only guitar and vocals. It is here that the album takes a much slower and more melodic approach, while being no less intense. "Gray Hair"
and "Cold War Everyday"
follow suit until "The Illusionist"
and "Police & Thieves"
find the album revving up the aggression once more. The absolutely monstrous 13 minute closer "Lovers Have Their Say"
, has Birds in Row slowing it down one final time and leans toward their more subdued screamo tendencies in an unpredictable song where Bart anguishes in the background about faith and loss before crashing into beautiful dissonance.
In the end, you will find that it is the dynamics between the vocals and the heavy hitting instrumentation that bring this record together to create absolutely beautiful violence. It might not hit you at once, but with repeated listens, it is sure to reveal its many layers. With no real rivaling bands, it is easy to see why Birds in Row are quickly making a name for themselves and will surely be finding themselves on many hardcore fans end of the year lists.
"Something is missing when no more candles could light the dark, when no more roses could add some colors."
- "Lovers Have Their Say"