Toronto-based alt-rock group Birds of Bellwoods are back with their hotly anticipated sophomore studio album, Everything You Want. This project finds the band leaning into the raucous nature of their live shows; anthemic choruses, fast and dirty intertwining guitars, and dreamy synth textures all combine to complement their signature rich vocal harmonies.
Their new song, “One By One”, drew influence from the violent removal of an encampment at Trinity Bellwoods park during the Covid pandemic.
Lead vocalist Stephen Joffe lives around the corner of Trinity Bellwoods park, and was witness to the unnecessary violence towards the homeless people living in the encampment. These were his neighbors who he interacted with often, who made a lovely arts market on the sidewalk, and would help clean up after people from out of town left piles of trash in the baseball diamond. And then one day, hundreds of police in riot gear kettled them, crushed their tents, and threw all of their belongings in the trash.
It was just so clear to Stephen at that moment: that these institutions are not for the people, they are for themselves. They will only protect us as long as we serve them.
This song is a kind of call to action: this system isn’t working for us anymore. The machine is breaking down. As Yeats said, “Things fall apart, the center cannot hold, mere anarchy is loosed upon the world.”