Safe Word (EP)
Grupo Records, 2019
ARSE is a Sydney punk trio, made up of Jonathan Boulet on bass/vocals, Dan Cunningham on guitar/vocals, and Tim Watkins on kick/snare. They struck the scene in 2017 with the release of their first album, Primitive Species. In 2018 they did a split seven-inch with Party Dozen, saxophone-drums noise duo. They have supported the likes of Cosmic Psychos (AU) and No Age (US).
Safe Word, their latest EP, released in July of this year through Grupo Records, maintains momentum and does not disappoint. Across five songs, ARSE deploys unchained vitriol with a dose of self-awareness and irony – that a lot of punk rock sorely needs – and the songs explore the impending doom of the planet as well as an eye-gouging frustration with the political landscape. ARSE spit witty lyrics like venom, backed by driving bass and drums that threaten to kick your door down.
The title track explores the decay of hedonism, with ironic and impassioned lyrics: “pleasure and ecstasy/ moderation is a myth to me.” Dissatisfied with the contemporary state of the world they quip self-destructively: “if you want a clean conscience sniff the ajax.” The track “Ill Nature” also deserves honourable mention with lines like “the bigots and the flat earth fucks” backed by a stomping beat and a droning despondence-inducing guitar riff.