The Birthday Massacre
Hide and Seek
Label: Metropolis Records
Released on: October 9th, 2012
Grade: 4.5 out of 5 meatballs
Reviewed by: Neil Miller, Jr.
It’s time for fall, and that also means it’s time for another chapter in The Birthday Massacre’s neverending story. I’ve kept no secrets about how much I love this band, and they’ve impressed me yet again with their newest release, Hide and Seek, which boasts a cut-and-dry 40-ish minute run time. They’ve trimmed the fat as far as interludes go, and this record is all about well-composed and flawlessly-produced songs. Each song reveals another layer of the mystique that is The Birthday Massacre — the band that cherishes their ever growing fanbase and who also, especially for music journalists like myself, defies classification.
After each of TBM’s record releases, I often find myself wondering what they could possibly do next? Consistently since their first record, Nothing & Nowhere, they’ve improved upon what I can only describe as perfection. Whether it’s writing better songs (which they did with Walking with Strangers) or getting deeper with their production value through their now longtime producer, Dave “Rave” Ogilvie (who’s worked with everyone from Skinny Puppy to Nine Inch Nails to Killing Joke and beyond), they only build skyscrapers upon the foundation they’ve laid out with each album. This time around, the songwriting is stronger and makes for an album you’ll be hitting the replay button on before it’s even over. Funny, because the recording of Hide and Seek was far more rushed and hectic than past sessions.
Normally, I would break down every song and tell you why I love them all so much. But this record is home to my new favorite Birthday Massacre song, “Calling,” which is as close as TBM will most likely ever get to recording a “pop” song. Granted that they are incredible at writing hooks, but their colorful, yet dark image and hard-edged sound will most likely continue to prevent popular music fans from becoming converts. So, when I heard the ridiculously catchy, undeniably memorable chorus from this song... well, I somehow fell even more in love with this band. But it’s the bridge that really lets this song outshine the rest — the riff takes on a new form here and bites New Order by way of 90s-era Billy Corgan, yet it still somehow sounds only like The Birthday Massacre.
My other personal highlight from Hide and Seek is the one-two punch of “One Promise,” which finds frontwoman Chibi pushing her vocals to new heights. This is another track that employs a ridiculously catchy chorus and a pounding rhythm throughout, making it one of the most memorable tracks on the record and from their lengthy oeuvre all around. The entirety of Hide and Seek makes for their strongest album to date. There’s no filler here, just potential single after potential single. If they only perform this album when I see them on November 1st at the Bottom Lounge (tickets here), I wouldn’t be the least bit upset. It’s another welcoming piece of the saga that is The Birthday Massacre, and it couldn’t be any better. If you like what you hear, be sure to catch them live — the albums are fantastic, but the live Birthday Massacre experience is far more immersive than you could ever hope for.