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Chain Whip - Two Steps To Hell

BC: Top 10 of 2021

by Sean Orr

Chain punk is alive and well, and the aptly named Chain Whip are Vancouver’s torchbearers of the unapologetically gritty sub-genre. Ferocious and hostile, Two Step to Hell is a scorching indictment of Vancouver’s insidious polarities — a dystopian hellhole with runaway speculation and unchecked greed on one hand, and the black boots of the police state overseeing never ending displacement and a poisoned drug supply on the other. Throw in the reemergence of white supremacist chuds against a backdrop of climate dread, and Two Step to Hell becomes the soundtrack to punching yourself in the face as you doomscroll the nightly news.

Bo Burnham’s transcendent comedy special isn’t the only great piece of COVID-adjacent art titled Inside released this year. The indie-rock quintet’s latest opens and closes with the sounds of the 7pm clanging pots and pans that once heralded the essential workers, and many of the tracks find them grappling with introspective thoughts while trapped in a room – being stuck inside one’s own head being an even worse fate than the physical boundaries.