All good things come to an end, but sometimes that end is even sweeter than it’s obliged to be.
If Boston is known for its DIY scene and its punk and rock bands, then Birthing Hips are the act every city should be fawning over by now. The four piece melt every facet of the city together into one fizz-foaming stew, all stemming from their reckless, unpredictable, noisy brand of punk. Though they’ve been around for only two years, Birthing Hips made a name for themselves in the community because of their feverish, unruly live shows. They command the stage, whether it’s a proper platform or the concrete slabs of a JP basement. They knew who they wanted to be right from the start. Part of the fun of listening was trying to decipher what that meant.
But it’s time to say farewell. Birthing Hips will be no more come the end of this year and they’re going out in style by, of course, making as much noise as possible—and we wouldn’t want it any other way. This past Tuesday, the band played their final show, headlining Great Scott with support by Dove Lady, Andrea Pensado, and Blau Blau. Tomorrow is the biggest farewell gift of all: Birthing Hips are releasing another album, their sophomore LP Urge to Merge, so that fans can cling to one last record before they fade from the city’s skyline.
Urge to Merge is arguably the tightest Birthing Hips have ever been. Over the course of their career, the band has grown more in tune, learning how to spiral off another’s part, creating the type of pointed instrumental work that bands five years their senior showcase. It’s present on their debut full-length, No Sorry, but it reaches new heights here. Singer Carrie Furniss, guitarist Wendy Eisenberg, bassist Andres Abenante, and drummer Owen Liza fall into sync, spiraling out of control and then picking one another back up, creating a dizzying and hypnotic set of songs that won’t let you out of its grasp.
“With this record, as with all of the music we made as a band, we wanted to explore just how far we could explode every genre and see how tenuous the links between improvisation and composition really are,” Eisenberg told DigBoston. “We are not playing shows any longer, but not because our work dismantling genre is over. You can hear us reconciling with the systems of our predecessors in our solo projects too. We wanted this record to show that anger and dissatisfaction and other ‘punk rock’ feelings don’t always have to sound like ‘punk rock.’ You can invent your own sounds from the cultural wreckage.”
We’re proud to stream Urge to Merge in advance of its proper release. Listeners will be pleased to hear how a song like “Droplet,” full of thundering bass and suggestive drums, compares to songs like “Strip Tease” and “Sludge.” The band’s experimental side finally gets to come to light with crystalline production, making it easier than ever to follow one guitar line into the subtle cymbal work behind it. Best of all, it’s a tour de force of contradictions, reminding listeners that femininity doesn’t have to be all frills and kindness—and neither do they.
Stream Urge to Merge in full below. Cassette and digital pre-orders of the album can be made here.