Jesus H. Christ, and fuck Vladimir Putin—talk about a case of art reflecting reality. Or, put another way, we’re at a point in history when “The World Is Going to End Tomorrow” somehow seems like more than a song from the Vancouver scene-vets in Rat Silo. It also sounds like a prophecy that could very well come true any day.
Here’s a terrifying way to spend a couple of seconds: fire up Google, punch in “Putin nukes”, and try not to blanche at the fact the search brings up 10,700,000 pages. The first one being, at the time of this writing, a Daily Mail story headlined “Ukraine War: Russian state media threatens to wipe out US East Coast with nukes.”
Normally we’d note that, according to Wikipedia, the famed British tabloid has "been noted for its unreliability and widely criticized for its printing of sensationalist and inaccurate scare stories.” Except that, in this case, story number two, by the considerably more credible New York Times, reads “Putin’s Threats Highlight the Dangers of a New, Riskier Nuclear Era.”
We’re all fucking doomed.
There’s something menacingly doomy about “The World Is Going to End Tomorrow”, which kicks off memorably with cascading post-everything guitar and a rolling death-dance bassline courtesy of Don Binns. Rat Silo then immediately locks into a groove best described as hypnotic, drummer Sean Stubbs anchoring things on the back end, and Erkan Gencol adding splashes of electro-loop weirdness.
Double impressive is the way that “The World Is Going to End Tomorrow” sounds studio-quality even though it’s performed live at the group’s Rat’s Nest rehearsal space.
As for the video by scene mainstay Adam P.W. Smith, the more you pay attention to the little things, the more you’re rewarded. The visuals start with a girl wearing a gasmask standing in front of a mini-blackboard emblazoned with “By the time you read this I’ll be dead.” From there, you might as well make things interesting by going the free-association route.
Going down that path, one might very well posit that the cardboard cutout wearing what looks like the gold star from the Chinese flag is meant to symbolize the ascension of China as a global superpower seemingly in bed with the Russians.
Or that the “left is right” on cardboard cutout number two isn’t necessarily an endorsement of Billy Bragg, Rage Against the Machine, or Ernesto "Che" Guevara, but instead a commentary on that reality that when you go far enough in one direction on the political spectrum, you eventually collide with the equally intolerant, dogmatic lunatics from the other side.
Old newsreel clips spliced between the band’s performance deliver a cavalcade of cheery messages: “REMAIN INDOORS”, “Nuclear accident”, and “....it will be necessary...to start a temporary evacuation of the town’s inhabitants”. And shots of mass rioting, burning vehicles, and bombed out neighbourhoods add to the argument that the world is indeed going to hell in a flaming handcart.
A grainy black-and-white snippet should drive home everything when a newspaper is picked up to reveal the words “MILLIONS FLEE FROM CITIES! END OF THE WORLD”. But in case it doesn’t, you’ve got singer Jim Newton punching in every 90 seconds or so with the Sons-meet-Dylan refrain “The world is going to end tomorrow”.
He might very well be right. So crank it, fingers crossed that art doesn’t end up prophesying reality.