Listening to "Survival," the excellent new single from Sydney band Sports Bra, you can hear the real time growth they've made since releasing their self-titled debut. Sports Bra, released in September 2017, is a tight, smart alt-emo record that made its statement of intent very clear from the get-go—the phrase 'No Gods, no masters, gender is fake, fuck cops' is scrawled around the edge of the album cover like a motto or incantation. But the four-piece's latest single, the first from their forthcoming sophomore album, is brighter and glossier than anything on Sports Bra; anthemic and impassioned, "Survival" is an absolute ripper of a power pop track that's fuelled by beautiful, blinding hope.
It would be tempting to call "Survival" a protest song, but it's infinite times more complicated than that; the track covers a lot of ground in its relatively modest runtime. "Most days I still feel so afraid/ But I refuse to ever feel ashamed," sings vocalist Allison Gallagher, "Rearrange the alphabet/ Write new names for yourself/ Take up all the space you need." It's internal monologue rendered as nimble, emotional sloganeering, a call of support and bolstering for the trans community.
It's a symbol of hopefulness that's sorely needed right now: earlier today, the New York Times reported the distressing—and, frankly, bullshit—news that the Trump administration is considering redefining gender as a biological trait rather than something internally known and unlinked to physiological sex. This would essentially deny trans people of many vital human rights including access to housing, healthcare and education. Sports Bra are releasing "Survival" this week as a direct response to the news—a statement to the world that trans rights should not and can not be erased. As Gallagher sings on "Survival"'s incendiary hook: "You and I built this life/ And now we're never going to die."
“Most of the people in this band are trans and queer, and it’s deeply concerning to us that our friends overseas continue to be targeted by the Trump government,” says Gallagher via a statement. “It doesn’t matter if it’s in the US, or here in Australia, or anywhere else in the world. All trans people everywhere deserve the right to basic living conditions, as well as safety from violence and harassment. We hope this song can act as a form of support, and offer some kind of hope in an otherwise terrifying time.”
"Survival" is being offered as a pay-what-you-feel download on Bandcamp now, with all proceeds going to Trans Lifeline, a North American trans-led organisation dedicated to improving the quality of trans lives. You can purchase "Survival" here, and visit Trans Lifeline directly here.