There’s something oddly appealing about music with themes of death and destruction. Coupled with grungy, guitar-heavy rock seems to make it even more appealing. These two parts go together well to create Sonic Union, the latest recording from the oh-so-rocking duo Cursed Arrows.
What makes Cursed Arrows interesting is the sense of inseparability of Ryan Stanley (guitar/vocals/drums) and Jack E Stanley (drums/vocals/guitar). Just as the band’s self-described instrumental order might show, they’re like two sides of the same coin, each contributing a piece of energy that isn’t complete without the other.
Guitar/drum duos seem to make extra noise to compensate for the small array of instruments, and Cursed Arrows are no exception. But this album alters the formula somewhat with, among other things, Jack E’s bits of spoken-word which can be heard on a few songs amid manic guitar riffs and her own drumming.
The band also varies the particular kind of rock they put out as they jump from song to song. Opener “Little Girl Blue” has an old-west feel with its stomp-and-clap rhythm and articulated guitar chords. “Romulus and Remus” on the other hand seems to have a bit of a blues influence behind it.
While it may be called “Manic Death,” the song is just about the closest thing the band gets to writing a love song, of course expressed in their uniquely Cursed Arrows way. The band might be at its most all-out with “The Destructor.” There is no wasted time getting things as loud and heavy as they can be and features apocalyptic lyrics like “Fires are getting closer/The sun is boiling over.”
Karl Marx would probably be pretty happy if he were alive today to hear “Unfortunate Few” with its lyrics about exploitation of the working class. And there’s definitely a bit of self-deprecation with the quick song “Thought I Was a Nice Guy (But I’m An Asshole).”
The album ends on with “Trust Us,” a cover of a Captain Beefheart tune that manages to stay faithful to the original material while at the same time injecting Cursed Arrows’ sensibilities into it and cutting two minutes from the original song length.
Get into it. Rock out to it.
Top Tracks: “Little Girl Blue;” “Manic Death”
Rating: Strong Hoot (Good)