“This world is very cynical
There will be no happy endings here
At least for some men”
This quote isn’t from Bernie Sanders, Barack Obama, or Jeremy Corbyn. It’s not from noted philosophers Marshall McLuhan, Noam Chomsky, or Michel Foucault. Those three lines are from “Come With Me”, the creepy centerpiece of Arrows Of Love‘s new album that succinctly encapsulates what Product: Your Soundtrack To The Impending Societal Collapse is all about. This isn’t some joyous summertime pop fare. Instead, the London-based band’s sophomore effort is an uppercut to the jaw and a kick in the ass.
Through 11 songs over 42 minutes, Arrows Of Love have crafted a stark, menacing album that captures the mood of the world today. This is a dystopian world that once was limited to science-fiction books and fantasy films, but we now live it. Led by Nuha Ruby Ra’s tantalizing voice, the brooding “Come With Me” offers the seduction of populist speech, where words are more than the substance behind them. The harrowing yet brilliant witch-punk tune “Beast”, which edges on the brink of Rage Against The Machine mastery, describes an authoritarian who has no respect for institutions or cultural values. Simultaneously, the band challenges us by asking, “The question is – if it’s going to knock you down or are you going to get up and throw some stones?”
Controlled chaos is the approach on “Toad”, which unsurprisingly is about an unstable person in power. What will he say? What will he do? Like the movements of the amphibian in the song’s title, he is unpredictable. But what may be more dangerous is being used and abused by someone we know, which Arrows Of Love tackle with devilish, industrial flair on “Parts That Make The (W)hole”. The song is unnerving and perilous, yet the dissonant guitars and Nima Teranchi’s spine-tingling vocal and lyrics keep us drawn to the song.
“Then I’m lucky my aunt dressed me like a geisha when I was six years old
So if you’re listening mother
I’ll love you until I die
I wouldn’t lie about that
Because love is not enough to work for you and I.”
These four songs, though, pale in comparison to the three massive epics that kick off the album. The first is “Signal”, an explosion waiting to happen. From the grimy guitar work, the throbbing rhythms, and Teranchi’s urgent, haunting vocals, a malice seeps through every note in the song. It is the anger and desperation of a person who foresaw the arrival of the “monster” that fed on people’s fears and ignorance. Then the monster’s byproduct is released, and predictable events like Charlottesville happen.
“Warning never came from a bottle
Let the lunatics run the asylum
Even handing them simple instructions
They chose to ignore
Call them Hitler crap
But you have to admire the product
Did you ever see it coming?
You always knew it was coming.”
The bone-crushing “Predictable” could be the anthem to the wasteland in the world where Mad Max lives. The guitars sear with a fiery edge while the bass and drums are hammered with the urgency of a man trying to escape prison. Teranchi’s vocals are delivered with immense desperation as he articulates what it is like to awaken every day to a world that is predictably fucked up.
“Desire”, meanwhile, is a nearly six-minute epic that is eerily delirious. The first half is a sheer wall of crushing reverb and titanic rhythms, and this soundscape reflects the war in the dystopian world the band has created. It then suddenly comes to a near-complete stop, methodically pacing through the desolate, barren world. Adding to the song’s darkness are Teranchi’s spine-tingling vocals and Nick Cave-esque songwriting, and the two are utterly engrossing.
The entire album isn’t for everyone. It is immensely dark, grueling, and harsh, and most of the LP sounds like a band who spends their rehearsals and songwriting time locked in a dungeon. Then again, these aren’t exactly sunny days. Quite the opposite; we are living in dangerous times, and Arrows Of Love aren’t sugar-coating anything. Instead, Product: Your Soundtrack To The Impending Societal Collapse is a fearless, unabashedly political record that dives headfirst into the unraveling abyss that has become our world. And it is awesome.
The album is out now via I’m Not From London Records. Arrows Of Love are Nima Teranchi, Nuha Ruby Ra, Alex Brown, Craig Doporto, and Phillip Stakem.
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