Albums, Music, The Revue — September 9, 2015 at 7:30 am

Birch – “Halfway” EP


New York City has produced some of the most interesting and exciting indie bands for decades. The past five years, in particular, has seen several young acts receive significant notoriety, such as the breathtaking, dark ambiance of The Antlers and the moody (in a good way) DIIV. One of the latest newcomers readying themselves to join these bands is Birch, whose synth-pop is reminiscent of another rising NYC act, Wet.

Formed about a year ago, the trio has released its debut EP, Halfway. As frontwoman Michelle Birsky describes the extended player:

The Halfway EP is a symbol of the formation of Birch over the past year. One overarching theme is the exploration of what it’s like to be young in this digital age when human connection becomes more and more rare. 

The song that best reflects this sentiment is the title track, where Birsky emphatically utters in the chorus, “This is our house!” It’s a demonstration of the treatment that many a house is no longer a home but treated than no more than a stop over. The closing track, “Window(less)”, continues the theme of separation and loneliness. The stirring track has the ambient touches of The Antlers and the flashes of power pop heard on Swedish sensation MIYNT.

“Carolyn”, though, is the highlight. Resonating with the lyrical power of Daughter played over a synth-pop-rock sound, the song slowly builds into its glorious finish. It’s an approach reminiscent of another hidden gem – Violent Mae. Whereas “Carolyn” is heartbreaking, “Fighting Words” is a dark, catchy synth number that has similarities to Metric‘s more light-hearted outings. Birsky’s voice even hints of Emily Haines. If Birch continues down this path of creating infectious synth-pop, they could very well find themselves opening for the popular Canadian band and possibly headlining their own tour. The young trio has the potential to be something really special.

Birch are Michelle Birsky (vocals, synth); Mat Towles (bass), and Emma Munger (guitar).

Halfway is out now. Get it at iTunes and Amazon.

Facebook – Birch music
Twitter – @birchmusicnyc
Instagram – @birchmusicnyc

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