By Maria Lubanovic, Copy Editor
[Get Better / SRA; 2018]
Key Tracks: “Friends. Lovers. Favorites”, “It’s Okay To Be Sick”, “Outnumbered”
From the moment that drums fire off into a scream, The HIRS Collective’s Friends. Lovers. Favorites. explodes into a writhing and pounding guitar riff and the throaty screams of the band members. This 15-minute-long album is an angry and powerful rally for queer and trans artists to scream against the injustices of the world. With a completely anonymous membership and a mysterious method of creating and distributing their music in small, yet powerful bursts, this album is a rare snapshot of a group of musicians making music that is meant to be blasted until your ears bleed.
This album is driven by little features from huge names in the punk/hardcore scene like Marissa Paternoster of Screaming Females, Sadie Switchblade of G.L.O.S.S. and Dyke Drama, and Alice Bag. They contribute original lyrics and slamming musical moments that drive home a message of rebellion, power, survival and solidarity. Many of the tracks blend right into each other, as most of the tracks average under one minute and focus on similar themes.
Though some of the lyrics are difficult to understand on a first listen, they focus on the rebellion of being alive and a free person even when the world doesn’t want you to be. These are huge tenants of what it is like to be an LGBT+ person. Shirley Manson of Garbage sneers about being invisible before drums, guitars and screaming crash over her on “Invisible”. There are songs of solidarity and moments of connection on tracks like “It’s Okay To Be Sad” and “It’s Okay To Be Sick”. The final track, “Outnumbered”, begins with a threat, one that warns that soon, “anyone that puts the rights of trans women at risk” will be fought. If anything, it’s a powerful and clear message.
Even if you are not a huge fan of a heavy hardcore sound, it’s at least worth listening to once. It’s one representation of the sort of feelings that many LGBT+ people have bubbling under the surface every time they are faced with an obstacle that is directly related to how queer they present themselves. This album is another important piece of queer representation, especially from a female and trans person point of view. Listen up people, this is the future.