Birch - 'Pick Sides' (Single)

Photo by Seigal Photography

Birch uses new single 'Pick Sides' to explore our societal need to create binaries (male/female, republican/democrat, straight/gay) and how those binaries keep us from truly understanding each other. 

 Last time we caught up with Birch, at the end of 2016, the New York  synth pop group were coming to the end of a chapter. 'Pick Sides' is where the next chapter begins. Taken from their eagerly anticipated sophmore EP ‘Not Human’, the track sets the tone of what’s to come. Recording and performing as a duo, with Michelle Birsky still firmly at the helm, Birch have poured on lashings of electronics, debuting a slightly different sound.

In the wake of what can only be described as turbulent election in the USA, Birch have laced their newest offering with meaning. Whilst there is an obvious air of defiance  and frustration in the lyrics, “and stop telling me what to with my body, it’s my fucking body”, the underlying message is one of coming together. We are all different, but accepting that without the need to define so rigidly the things that make us different.

The song lumbers in with a slow clap-click beat and the familiar Birch keyboards. Layers build gradually through the verses until everything peels back, leaving the slow boom-boom-boom of the bass drum and Michelle’s delicate vocals. The track builds again, falls away again, then ends with a long outro that explores the various synth sounds that appear in the earlier parts of the track. It’s almost a little bit like prog-rock.

Without a doubt, Birch’s new EP will be decidedly different to their debut EP, 'Halfway', but much like the lyrical themes of 'Pick Sides', the differences do not need to be defined or labelled to fit in the boxes that come attached to those labels. This is a different Birch. This is Birch. Human, or not.

Words of Samuel Hylands

'Pick Sides' is out now and available on Spotify.