Born from their own personal difficulties faced and an apt reflection of times we are all being challenged by, The Really Not Good Times EP is the new encounter with Michigan outfit Arsenic Tea Party. It offers four tracks which with nihilistic mischief and virulent unpredictability unite to create the kind of devilish fun around defiant reflection we all need right now.
Originally starting as a solo project, Arsenic Tea Party is the duo of Richard Cynic (vocals, drums, keys, guitar, lyrics) and Ron better known to his mum as Ryan Szewczyk (guitar, bass). Their sound is described as punk-infused avant metal/rock but as a self-titled debut album suggested in 2019, it has much more to its flavouring and character and it has all truly blossomed within The Really Not Good Times EP. Like a fusion of Dog Fashion Disco, Mindless Self Indulgence, and the UK’s own unique proposition, Mr. Strange, it is a virulently contagious and manipulate rock ‘n’ roll incitement which twists with unpredictability, swings with lusty devilry and so often snarls like a ravenous tempest.
Lead single, 12 Gauge Exit Strategy, sets off the release, coaxing ears with a single strum before breaking out its Mediterranean instincts, they in turn soon become embroiled in a punk and rock nurtured canter. As the sounds around him, Cynic’s vocals are an animation of endeavour and revelry with the track continuing to cast new temptations and deviant enterprise as it surges through ears and bites at the senses, it all aligned casting a web of seduction for body and contemplation.
It is a great start to the EP but soon eclipsed by the quickly addictive Milk of Tragedy. Its opening classic rock ‘n’ roll guitar lure triggers compulsion even before it swiftly breaks into an electro/art rock shuffle which is where that strong Mr. Strange comparison forcibly teases and again, subsequently revealed, just as potently in its successor. Even so, the second track only bears uniqueness on ears as it takes the body on a flirtatious dance which at times is confronted by sinister metal urged predation. Again the eventfulness of the music is echoed in the vocals, it all combining for an inescapable incitement and dynamic pleasure before Daddy Delicious’s Kum Klub uncages its own rampaging manipulation. A forceful trespass but equally a seductive electronic waltz, the track is a lusty example of the creativity and diversity in the Arsenic Tea Party sound and uproar, and another fiercely charged highlight of the record.
The Really Not Good Times EP closes with Tommy the Cop, a song soon gripping body and imagination with urgent festivities and bitter reflection whilst weaving a voracious tapestry of fresh flavours and unorthodox antics second by second. There is also a great Wall Of Voodoo meets Oingo Boingo essence to the song, indeed Cynic finds a mischievous Stan Ridgway lilt to his tones, and just as striking with the Dog Fashion Disco/ Five Star Prison Cell like eruptions which add to the drama.
The track provides an outstanding end to one simply superb encounter and a clutch of tracks which rapaciously enticed, captivated and lingered with increasing pleasure found. Now it is your turn to taste the addiction threatening escapades of Arsenic Tea Party.
The Really Not Good Times EP is out now; available @
Pete RingMaster 18/02/2021
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