Just Listen: Birch – Labor Fruit

Birch – Labor Fruit

Words: Julia Grantham

When my good friend Michelle Birsky of New York synth-pop band Birch got in touch asking me to review her latest single ‘Labor Fruit’, I hesitated briefly, but only enough to decide it was time to bring this track back to Popped Music. The place where I had discovered her about three years’ ago and the website I have always been a part of, even if I have had a break for a while.

Birch describe themselves as synth pop, but here, there isn’t a hit of that genre. In fact, if this is the first time you have heard of Birch, you would probably be forgiven for drawing comparisons with artists such as Lisa Mitchell or even a stripped-down Rilo Kiley: yes, a subtle hint of folk-pop seems to be sprinkled onto this song, and its beauty lies within its simplicity.

I love the juxtaposition of the words ‘labor and ‘fruit’ it’s a play on words I think, from that well-known phrase of which a part is: “It would be a great disappointment for you to give up on yourself before the appointed time to reap the fruit of your labor.” I think this song is all about knowing that those before you, ( I was fortunate enough to get a personal insight into this track as the artist is a friend) have tried tirelessly to care for their family and fight for something or stand up for loved ones. Moreover, that through the generations, this plight to make a stand has continued, maybe by Michelle herself, and that even when something in life fails, or is rejected, it’s still right, it’s still what worth fighting for and life still directs you back to what you always knew: justice, and expressing that through music, art and social media.

I think the line: “There is a one-way road that is barricaded off for most of us” articulates this well, but what if some of us see those barricades in life, and still move toward them; the barricade isn’t relevant to us? I don’t think barricades bother Michelle when it comes to speaking her mind, pushing for justice and being an activist for women in USA today. My favourite line? “We stood at the door, knocked down the door, let’s push down the door.”  

Birch is a very important contemporary musician right now: today. Her band’s music aims to promote justice for women living under Trump as we read this, by depicting exactly what that is like for females as individuals and collectively. The tracks and videos are brave, ground-breaking and deserve to be heard. Please listen.

Listen to Labor Fruit below:


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    Popped Music has been going since Feb 2010.

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