You know from Braveheart when all-around good guy, universally liked Mel Gibson yells out “They can take our lives but they can never take our freedom.” Well that quote is “Shirt” in song form, a slow building anthem akin to the Cold War Kids “Hang Me Out To Dry” in which an overarching metaphor about what else than shirts plays into a universal human theme. Sure it may be a little cheesy (wearing your heart on your sleeve, hardy har har) but the message is presented in such a satisfying way that overcomes this “you probably heard it on Arthur when you were in 1st grade” message.
In essence. the song speaks to that friend that always gets screwed over, bullied or what may have you (maybe even Mel Gibson’s wife). Sure the “shirt” has been hung out to dry, stained and treated all-together like crap but that is far from the end of the story. Rather than passively getting yelled at on the phone by an overzealous anti-semite, the “shirt” takes action, guns a blazing, call in the cavalry style, reflected in the song’s movement from a calming, acoustic riff with subdued vocals, to all out hell with electric guitars and vocals wailing raw emotion with the drums beating on someone’s head. And accompanied by this fire storm is the perfect refrain of “No one is gonna wear me out.” If you are actually a shirt reading this review then the figurative language here will be lost on you, but the meaning here is a somewhat clichéd (everytime I type clichéd is a trip to Word for the appropriate accent if you were wondering) message give life by such an honest and enthusiastic song.
Belle Brigade’s self titled album is the first LP from Barbara and Ethan Gruska, a solid effort that can be found in Paste’s Top 50 albums of the year. “Where Not To Look For Freedom” is another cheesy, yet solid release from this album, which might be one day known as the “pear album” another cheery anthem that seemingly talks about places like North Korea and Mel Gibson’s dictatorial household (or maybe not, you will have to listen yourself).
For listeners of Fleetwood Mac, Grouplove and Buried Beds