Boston's Birthing Hips makes brainy, noisy punk based in sonic adventure, technical mastery and rejection of the status quo. Well, technically the band made this off-the-wall, unruly music — since, in a spirit of unpredictability fitting its sound, Birthing Hips announced both its breakup and the release of a new album on the same day in October.
It's a shame the band will play no more of the spastic live shows that made it such a beloved part of the Boston scene, because Urge To Merge, that bittersweetly-announced album, is an impressive, jagged (and well-produced) set of songs. "We wanted this record to show that anger and dissatisfaction and other 'punk rock' feelings don't always have to sound like 'punk rock,'" guitarist Wendy Eisenberg explained in an interview. "You can invent your own sounds from the cultural wreckage."
As it begins, "Internet" could almost be mistaken for a charming indie rock song: singer Carrie Furniss' breathy voice is soft and sweet over Andres Abenante's measured bass line. Eventually, Eisenberg's vaguely sinister progression devolves into shredding, and Furniss' voice becomes a shriek, then a wail. All hell breaks loose, then snaps back into place; in its wake, the song's beauty feels deranged. The video for "Internet" feels equally uncanny: Stark lighting, monstrous hands, computer screens and food fights all play a role in crafting visuals that match the song's disquieting technicolor tone.
Urge To Merge is out now via NNA (physical, digital).