New Band Of The Week: Birds In Row

Birds In Row
Birds In Row

Sounds Like:
Emotionally-driven hardcore with its middle finger in the air.

For Fans Of:
Touché Amoré, Converge, Modern Life Is War

Listen To:
I Don’t Dance

Birds In Row aren’t a band: they’re a collective. Despite Hammer speaking on the phone to one individual, he’s keen to point out that the French trio communicate as one voice and avoid the concept of identities. 

“We don’t want to be considered as a boyband,” he/they say. “We want people to focus on what the band does, not what every member is about. It’s a collective effort and there is no one member more important than another.”

Forming in 2009, this unit have been moving fast to spread their message of change. Following their first rehearsal, in a month they had a recording, in six months they were playing locally, within a year they were touring Europe. After a string of EPs and a debut album, we’re here with second full-length We Already Lost The World: a record that’s musically and emotionally heavy, always carrying the message of positivity and rebellion that underpins BIR’s sound.

“It’s a good time to tell people that you don’t need to love everyone, but you can respect everyone and work together to try to build something because we can’t count on anyone above us,” say the band. “We can only rely on people around us – neighbours, friends, people you’re involved with on a daily basis – they’re the people you should do things with; try to work with people and don’t hate them without knowing them.

“Try to be involved in politics, not just by voting, but taking care of people around you. That’s the main message behind the punk scene: to try to build something as a community and not expect anything from anyone else.”

Living in the small town of Laval in western France, Birds In Row say there isn’t much chance to get involved in protests, but they use their music to spread a message of change by putting on their own DIY punk shows.

“Politics isn’t all about marching in the streets,” they suggest. “It’s the conversations you have on a daily basis with people, trying to change minds and giving other options.”

This desire for changing the status quo and influencing others to see the world differently forms the backbone of new album We Already Lost The World. An emotive, cathartic blast of energy inspired as much by Converge as early 00s screamo, dripping with blood and tears for a world they no longer feel a part of. It sounds like a breakup record, but the band tell us it’s more profound and poetic than that.

“In a way it’s breaking up with your environment or expectations. You always thought that life could be easier or amazing for different reasons, but then you really discover the world as you’re growing up and you discover there’s a lot of bullshit and shitty things that happen around you. It puts you in this breakup situation with your expectations from when you were younger.”

This disconnect and apathy isn’t an alien concept to many people in society who feel like they’re on the bottom rung with no means of climbing higher. That feeling is what inspired the rather bleak album title, taken from an imagined conversation BIR had with a man they saw “being an asshole” on a train.

“I came up with this guy saying, ‘You don’t have to love me, you don’t have to hate me, we both lost in this story so let’s just do something to get the world back into our hands.’ Both of us already lost at this world so we have to build now, which is a positive statement.

“It’s not about being bummed out because we don’t have everything, we don’t have control over most things in our lives – so let’s try to take it back.”

Luke Morton joined Metal Hammer as Online Editor in 2014, having previously worked as News Editor at popular (but now sadly defunct) alternative lifestyle magazine, Front. As well as helming the Metal Hammer website for the four years that followed, Luke also helped relaunch the Metal Hammer podcast in early 2018, producing, scripting and presenting the relaunched show during its early days. He also wrote regular features for the magazine, including a 2018 cover feature for his very favourite band in the world, Slipknot, discussing their turbulent 2008 album, All Hope Is Gone.