Birds In Row is a post-hardcore band out of Laval, France working on their second full-length album, We’ve Already Lost The World, which arrives six years after their debut. In 2015, Birds In Row offered a spastic dose of gut level tumult, Personal War, which was a seven song EP that received pretty decent acclaim.
Songs on their earlier release were generally shorter and more punk based than these. On We’ve Already Lost The World the sound is more expansive, and dare I say elegant. The opener, “We Count So We Don’t Have To Listen” is built around breathless vocals and a sparse, skeletal instrumentation but it’s the pallid solo that precedes the blast of intense guitars, from which the evocative, yet truncated affect is assembled.
Gloomy acoustic guitar leads are a consistent element throughout the record and make for an effective compliment to their core abrasive, sandpaper sound. What may be the most mature song on the record, “15-38” blends melancholic brand of mid-tempo indie rock aesthetics with clearly sung vocals. It’s a slower more satisfying burn than anything on their previous record, which was comprised of seven outright brutal tracks in around eighteen minutes. But the blood and bowels of this newer record is, make no mistake, a fetid air of collective aggression. On “Remember Us Better Than We Are” and “Trieste Sire” the powerful hardcore guitars break right off the line and lance straight through the heart without anticipation. The former track, however, bleeds out on a nice bluesy guitar line that’s really warm in contrasts to the cold and maladjusted vocals. “Morning” the album’s penultimate (and arguable best) track shows off the shrill blade of whatever axe the band has to grind. The closer “Fossils” is a song that assembles in an agonizingly careful manner, featuring the only vocal harmonies on the record, which are bleak, affecting and beautiful.
Birds In Row are a three piece outfit that deliberately obscure their identities in videos and promotional photographs, referring to one another as only B, D or T. However artsy that may sound on first blush, it’s effective in conveying that this record is about an existential type of angst. It’s every man’s wail. On the very raw and visceral, “Love Is Political” the song quickly finds a fevered pitch, which teeters on the brink of breaking apart into a thousand pieces.
Evolving though they are into something darker and slower and moodier, Birds In Row are still a fierce act. We’ve Already Lost The World is an abrasive aural assault, but there is a soulful core to it, revealing the melodic in melodic hardcore as something more than nuance.