Gina Birch
I Play My Bass Loud

(Third Man)


On her debut solo album I Play My Bass Loud, founding member of The Raincoats Gina Birch proudly defies stereotypes. “I’m this old white woman playing my bass guitar out of my window,” she says in the record’s promotional material. “I just want to stick my head out and yell down the street: HELL, I’M HERE, AND I’M PLAYING MY BASS LOUD!”

With weaving basslines, heavily processed vocals and dramatic, flavourful synths, the album takes us through a vivid political journey. In the opening of ‘Feminist Song’, dark, subtle synths make a bed for Birch’s voice, her serious, spoken tone almost in prayer for feminism. “Yes there are women in positions of power / And so many more in chains and drudgery / Raped / Abused / Tortured”. Here, Birch’s lyrics are sickeningly visceral, leaving little room for interpretation. Elsewhere, on the record’s lead single ‘Wish I Was You’, overdriven guitars, crashing drums and a wonderfully catchy vocal line similarly get straight to the point.

Other songs, however, reveal a humorous edge. Birch’s voice darkly shouts “I will never wear stilettos” on the track of the same name, and there is such a comical aspect to this proclamation that it’s difficult not to smile when listening to it. That said, hidden under the humour, a powerful question is posed: “Can you run in them?