Birch – ‘Halfway’ EP

Fifteen minutes of glorious electro-indie-pop

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Every once in a while you’ll come across an act who is just remarkable. An act that causes your ears to prick up and make you wonder: wow, who IS that? Lately, since we first heard their ‘Halfway’ single, that act has been Birch.

As if ‘Halfway’ didn’t do enough to establish them as one to watch, Birch have truly outdone themselves on their EP of the same name. Not least because it’s not the type of linear pop-tinged indie that ‘Halfway’ might have led you to suspect or expect. Right from the intense electronic intro to ‘Fighting Words’, Birch have you hooked on something addictively different.

‘Fighting Words’, as opener, does a flawless job of grabbing your attention and keeping your ears on Birch. Michelle Birsky’s vocals are phenomenal; sounding a seductive blend of attitude and innocence, which creates a commanding vocal that just works. It’s a track built around a build of momentum, and the chorus delivers this build perfectly – when it finally receives the repetition it deserves, the intensity builds until you can’t help but be caught up.

Again, ‘Halfway’ itself would not have prepared you for that type of intensity. This unpredictability continues to ‘Carolyn’, a track of slow-burning tenderness that is much more true to the typical indie sound you may have anticipated. A different shade of enjoyable indie to ‘Halfway’, showing why we have high expectations from the band. It’s tinged with melancholy, but not quite enough as closer and fellow slow-burner ‘Window(less)’.

Every track on ‘Halfway’ is absolutely stunning; each beautiful in their own rights, made fantastic by their union on this EP. It’s a coherent experience despite the shifting shades of music. The tracklisting eases these changes, alternating between upbeat and downbeat respectively.

The most interesting and fascinating thing about this EP is that it leaves you cluelessly wanting more. It’s hard to choose the stronger of the two sounds, when both upbeat and downbeat tracks are perfectly formed and majestic. So you want more not just because it’s good, but because you want to know how far the band can take both sounds before developing a strength in one over the other. And that looks like it could be a long and enjoyable journey.

You can, and should, purchase the EP here. It’s also available to stream below, and on the band’s soundcloud. Though you should definitely buy it.

You can read our interview with Birch’s marvellous Michelle Birsky here (or unedited, here).

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