Three years after their latest release, the 2015 EP Personal War, and six after their debut LP, 2012’s You, Me & the Violence, French cathartic hardcore band Birds In Row are back with We Already Lost the World. The Deathwish Inc. release hits listeners’ ears on July 13 and is already gaining traction thanks to its first single, “15-38.” The gritty song shows the band in a different sonic light than before, utilizing clean vocals during the first act, rupturing into urgent yells in the second, then coming to a rather apathetic end, during which the album’s title is howled over and over.
“We just try to do things honestly, hoping people will get caught in our songs the same way we get caught in those of bands we love,” the group—whose members are known only as T., B., and Q.—comment as a unit. “Because, at the end of the day, the most important thing in music, to us, is what it makes you feel and makes you wanna build rather than how it makes you look.”
For Birds In Row, everything is natural. They write together and give their songs the proper space, emotion, and sound needed for them to thrive. “Being a three-piece is really interesting in terms of energy. We all need to be involved. Also, the fact that we know and have played together for so long plays a big role in the tightness of our creative relationship,” the band explain. “That’s why we like to see our band as an entity and not several individuals. It really is. We never think about how cool a guitar riff is, we always talk about how the music as an ensemble speaks to us or not.”
The ensemble that makes up each song on We Already Lost the World flows beautifully, building into a soundtrack of orchestrated carnage and commenting on the state of the Earth. “Love Is Political” is a highlight of the record, with an intriguing depth of meaning that Birds In Row put forth in one frantic, two-and-a-half-minute melter. “When we introduce ‘Love Is Political’ onstage, we often say, ‘Love and friendship became political acts,’” the group reveal. “That’s how we feel and why we wrote that record: to tell people that all this competition [and] all this violence are deeply unnecessary and counterproductive.” This thought process ties into the lyrics: “Love is defiance, defiance is necessary / Love is disobedience, love is political.”
In this sense, Birds In Row feel they need to ask people what they are doing for their community, knowing that the DIY ethos helps music continue to thrive, be visible, and be reveled in. “When you start a band, there’s so much to do on your own,” they say. “You know no one, know nothing, all you have is a will to share your art and ideas. We have the massive privilege to evolve in a community that allows you to do so without a professional structure—that you can’t afford when you start, anyway. This solidarity and support you get from the DIY community is always taken for granted, but it’s good to remember how lucky we are to have it and how you should take care of it by being involved.”
Birds In Row are not known for highlighting their individuality but for being an entity in a surrounding storm, adding to the thunder. When listening to We Already Lost the World, its best to appreciate the album as a whole rather than tackle it song by song. There’s a moving narrative within these nine tracks. It rips through the notion of humanity in “We vs. Us,” understanding that if it rains, everyone will be hit the same. “Morning” plays with syncopation and dynamics, a deep bellow constantly bursting between the chords, tying into the self-doubt and questions posed about the human race coming from deep below.
This sociopolitical sentiment burns through the entire album, and Birds In Row sum up the record’s motifs: “Since our very first steps, we’re told we evolve in a world that works a certain way and that we need to follow. So, it creates a huge determinism. Your life is traced up in front of you, and you’ve got no choice. You gotta pay the bills, you gotta satisfy the social pressures, you gotta match the profile. We Already Lost the World means it’s not in our hands yet, but it could be if we worked together for the common good.”
Photo by Joe Calixto