Monday, 27 August 2012

Review: Birds in Row - You, Me, and The Violence

Birds in Row
You, Me, and the Violence

1. Pilori
2. There Is Only One Chair In This Room
3. Cages
4. Guillotine
5. Walter Freeman
6. Last Last Chance
7. You, Me, & The Violence
8. Grey Hair
9. Cold War Everyday
10. The Illusionist
11. Police & Thieves
12. Lovers Have Their Say

I’ll admit it:  When it comes to hardcore I’ve always been extremely North America-centric.  Although there have always been exceptions, many non-American/Canadian hardcore bands have often seemed behind the times, awkward, or odd derivatives of what was happening in N.A. at the time.  Fortunately, Deathwish Inc. has helped clear up my misconception about European hardcore bands.  As you might have seen here, Lost Tribe quickly fell in Love with Belgium’s Rise and Fall’s latest release, and the new Birds in Row album proves that France should also be taken seriously in the hardcore realm. 

After picking up Vitriol’s amalgamation of Birds in Row’s first two EP’s called Collection, I became enamored with the band.  What I was hearing was definitely hardcore, but it had pronounced metal, punk, and rock influences which were expertly blended and helped give the album a dynamic quality that many hardcore albums lack.

Needless to say, I had high hopes for Birds in Row’s first proper LP (and first Deathwish release), entitled You, Me, and The Violence.  Right off the bat, Birds in Row proves they aren’t fucking around.  “Pilori” and “There is Only One Chair in This Room” hit like a goddamn freight train.  Noisy hardcore done right from the first note.  They continue their ability to mix distorted mayhem with stripped down/clean tracks, with softer tracks like “Last Last Chance” and “Lovers Have Their Say”.  While I often get bored with hardcore bands’ attempts at clean/soft songs, I never find Birds in Row’s forays into these quieter moments forced or unnecessary.  They always add a pleasant break and momentary shift in musical direction.  In other words, it’s a nice and well-placed break in the album.

The final thing I love about Birds in Row is their actual sound.  So many hardcore bands are so distorted and overdriven that it’s hard to make out what is actually happening musically, let alone discern different notes or instruments.  Fortunately, despite being heavy as all hell, this recording allows for a musical clarity that isn’t often present anymore.  I would describe Birds in Row as “Cacophonous” more than anything, but in all of the sonic chaos there is still a coherence and clarity that I think sets this band apart in many ways.

Do yourself a favour and pre-order the album here. 

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