It’s become quite clear recently that the province of Ontario is going through some changes. Really poor ones. Between repealing the current sexual education curriculum in publicly-funded schools across the province and cancelling curriculum updates that add Indigenous content to the blatant Trump-isms evident from the start of the Progressive Conservative Party’s campaign, you’re damn right I’m a little paranoid about things right now. From the sounds of things, it’s apparent Saskatoon trio Arson Cult is just as visibly frustrated with these troubling trends both at home and abroad.
Arson Cult’s blend of explosive punk and controlled, chaotic post-hardcore belies a quiet determination, a silent vow to persevere even amidst “privileged ancestry, sitting comfortably”. The fiery chant of “Exchanged. No Change. Exchanged. Unmoved. No Change” could have been lifted from protest marches at Queen’s Park or Parliament Hill. An out-of-left-field rant towards an unidentified target at the song’s conclusion feels dark and ominous, much like our collective futures. “Travelling On Someone Else’s Dime” highlights that as much as we try to fight against systemic privilege in our daily lives, the struggle and challenge to rise above and beyond it will keep growing with time.
Arson Cult reminds us to see past rhetoric and work towards ensuring the mistakes of the past are not repeated in the future. Still, I can’t help but feel as if the future is still quite uncertain in Ontario. That said, “Travelling On Someone Else’s Dime” has only served to reinforce that yes, things right now are in limbo, but that’s okay. It’s okay to show empathy for those you may not know, to want to put other people’s needs before your own. Music will always serve as an outlet for catharsis, unity and even commiseration. But it takes a lot more than just a good song with an urgent message to inspire true and swift change. It takes passion. Dedication. Actually getting up out of your chair, your bed and doing something.