Arsenic Tea Party makes a wonderfully big and joyous racket for a two-piece. But such are the advantages of being a musical artist in the modern age with access to all the studio tricks and techniques that it offers. And if the music is a joyous riot of beats and bombast, the lyrical content comes from an altogether darker place.
As the cover hints at, this four-song salvo, one half of a planned brace of eps, these songs dwell on dark potential futures and personal hells, dystopian scenarios, of the breakdown of society and the danger of the streets. But rather than get too maudlin about things, they temper the lyrical content by wrapping the message in some wonderfully upbeat musical trappings.
The Really Not Good Times EP is definitely a case of trying to take control of the madness of the modern age by ridiculing it and thus making it seem less scary. Or as the band themselves put it, “taking an introspective look at all the things that make us tick, then dancing drunk on their ashes.” And why not, it’s as good a plan as any. In fact, it’s better than most.
The brilliantly titled, 12-Guage Exit Strategy blends an incendiary pop-punk drive with a mad Mariachi vibe, it rages and it rocks but the vocals are delivered with the tongue set firmly in the cheek, not an easy thing to do I should imagine, and the overall mood is call to party. Even if this might be the soundtrack to the last party on earth.
Milk of Tragedy is an intense ska-punk blast and Daddy Delicious Kum Klub is a spacey take on low-slung garage rock. The EP ends with Tommy The Cop, a spikey, thunderous broadside that wanders between metal tsunamis and punk belligerence.
If the world is about to go to hell in a hand-basket, and evidence would suggest that such a scenario might already be underway, then The Really Not Good Times EP is the soundtrack to that one last party, probably taking place in a derelict car-plant on the edge of town, a frenzy of booze-fuelled obliteration and drug-addled escapism, the perfect two-finger salute to the powers-that-be and smug “I told you so,” all put to a sonic riot of epic proportions.
And, if the world doesn’t end that night, then you have another EP to look forward to from this most excellent of bands. It’s a win-win whichever way you look at it.