PRODUCT is the sophomore album from London band, Arrows of Love, the ever-shifting collective framed around the core duo of Nima Teranchi and Nuha Ruby Ra. Having established themselves with their excellent 2014 debut, Everything’s Fucked, this record aims right at the heart of the modern experience.
Sometimes relationships are a strange thing. The tumult of love and desire can lead you into weird emotional cul-de-sacs. Whilst the coalescence of two people into one whole (becoming a “couple” so to speak), can produce that unshakeable, hippy-dippy, the-world-is-full-of-cherry-blossom, nudity, sex and spit-swapping, euphoric glow; when that status starts to crack, the familiar stench of broken communication, paranoiac longing and humiliating failure catches the nose. The ego, the sense of self, comes crashing down hard. Anger rises in the pit of your stomach. Making sense of the world, the people around you, all become tragically entwined in a doomed hate-spiral of which a way out to a brighter future seems nigh-on impossible.
Now, is this album such a tale? Well yes, kind of. But it’s more. Much more.
Take that feeling described above. We all recognise it, am-I-right? Everyone’s been there at some point in their life. That outsider feeling.
Well, young rock fan, how do you feel about your place in modern society, modern culture? The rise of the Alt-right, Trump, Brexit, UKIP, old-fashioned ideas about race, sexuality, gender somehow gaining traction, spitting in the face of decades of (questionable) societal progress. We’re the generation born to believe our liberal views were the dawn of a bright future, aren’t we?
Oh right. Of course. We’re still the outsiders. Make America great again. Take our country back. The past. That was when things were good.
Enter PRODUCT. With its jarring noise-rock and pummelling grooves. It’s whacked-out psychobilly infused post-punk, cracked guitars and vitriolic blues. This album is not just that age old tale of carnal desire and relationships gone wrong. This album is just as likely to tell you how “love’s not enough to work for you and I”, as it does on the new-romantic flavoured dirty waltz of ‘Parts That Make The (W)hole’, and revel in sex, depravity and longing (see also the Nuha fronted spoken word of ‘Come With Me’) as it is likely to take aim at cultural commodification, capitalist alienation, the confusion and anger of a split society.
This last idea is writ large all over one of the album standout tracks, ‘Beast’. Over an absolutely disgusting, low-slung, super-detuned riff that penetrates deep into the guts, Nima intones “We’ve seen the shit that’s going on out there, it’s fucked, so be depressed. You have every right to be.” He’s correct of course. We stare unblinking into the abyss of modern living; gentrification, salary pay caps, terrorism, rising city rents, angry conservatives blaming the downtrodden, the poor, the migrant for all the sins of the elite. Well, get angry and use it for the greater good, “don’t just lie there, get up and throw some stones.”
Sonically they are no one-trick pony either. Sure, coruscating guitars and rampant heaviosity loom large over the album, but there is also sensitivity. Take ‘Desire’ for example. Heft gives way to plaintive Morricone inspired passages, mournful strings, a blackened blues signals that creeping doom we feel when we realise we’re all “born in a place we can’t well trust”. This record can turn on a dime.
By the time we finish with ‘Restless Machine’ we’re all as fucked as the world that surrounds us, the album having strung us out with its dystopian vision of failed love/failed culture. Detuned like prime Melvins/Swans, the sludge of this track spreads over you, slick and sticky like a bath of cigarette ash, baby-oil and blood. Repetition turns the screw, whilst panting vocals tease deep into your eardrum. The track absolutely crushes. It’s as sexy as it is disturbing.
Can I recommend this record? Abso-fucking-lutely. As much a comment on the current political climate as it is about doomed desire, there’s something here for everyone. Guitars gurn and rhythms burn your loins.
What’s not to love?