The Arrivals - Volatile Molotov (Cover Artwork)

The Arrivals

Volatile Molotov (2010)


It was three years ago that the Arrivals released their last album, Marvels of Industry. One of 2007's highlights, it was a release that solidified the band's status as a true hidden gem of American punk rock. Having returned to relative obscurity after Marvels, though, the band has finally reappeared. Again springing from nowhere with a set of songs that surpass anything being offered by most of their contemporaries, this time the Arrivals have upped the ante even further. New LP Volatile Molotov is, at the very least, a late contender for album of the year.

From explosive opener "Two Years," the pace is relentless and the quality unwavering. The melodies spring from every corner of the album--the riffs, the solos, the harmonies--while the vocal hooks alone are simply outstanding. Some bands spend decades trying to write a song like "Blank Slate," but the Arrivals seem to have them stockpiled.

The best thing about Volatile Molotov is that it manages to get all the ingredients just right. The band has perfectly combined the anger and the energy of punk rock with the melody of power-pop. The end result is a brilliant bastard broth of everything from Hüsker Dü and the Clash to Naked Raygun and Dillinger Four.

The lyrics are undoubtedly what blend it all together. Crammed with a sense of disillusion and powerlessness, they reflect so acutely contemporary liberalism's existential crisis. Apocalyptic but also hopeful, cynical yet optimistic, Volatile Molotov is the soundtrack to a broken America; it is an elegy for the shattered vision of Obama's new tomorrow.

Tracks like "The Last Testament," "Frontline" and "New Gold Standard" deserve a place on the Congressional Record, yet they will probably drift like a wind above the heads of everyone but a small handful of punk rock fanatics. A work of true art in an age of artlessness, Volatile Molotov belongs in every record collection: buy it and tell your friends to do the same. You'll be doing humanity a service.