Cain and Abel Up North

Cain and Abel Up North
Following the ambitious, independently released You Lost The Human Race, this Acton, ON-based quartet took on quite the ballsy follow-up with Up North. Where their first full-length probed the ideas of spirituality through creative reinterpretations of biblical allegories, their sophomore effort sees them tackling the equally loaded topic of European settlement in North America and its effect on First Nation populations — all this from a group whose sound sees them sharing the stage with bands whose concern with colonialism generally pales in comparison to concern for their hair. Cain and Abel play pop punk that’s smart as hell, pushing the lyrical limitations of the genre while writing some of the catchiest melodies it has to offer. What sells the band is the fact that they are obviously interested in the world outside that which is typically associated with narcissistic emo punk, but they possess a genuine love for the musical conventions it has to offer. This is demonstrated perfectly by tracks like "The Son Will Not Rise,” which moves from an aggressive opening into a catchy chant before an epic disco drum led coda brings the song to an end. Up North is crisp sounding pop music with something extra to offer, a rarity amongst bands of this type.

Why concept records?
Vocalist/guitarist Peter van Helvoort: The honest truth? I am pretty sure I was listening to a lot of Yes albums two years ago.

There’s a lack of restraint in your music; you can be as poppy or as aggressive as you want at any given moment. Is that freedom important?
That’s more of a fault than an intention with our music, I think. Ever since I was nine years old I’ve tried very hard to be cool and while growing up I openly jumped on trends quite often. The problem is that I am absolutely incapable of correctly imitating people. I always fall 15 degrees shy of normal. So I can’t write music like the stuff I enjoy listening to but I also can’t manage to write a straight pop song. It’s the paradox that is my musical endeavours.

Do you feel limited by the kind of audience or bands you are typically associated with?
I think it used to make me frustrated that the people who enjoy our band aren’t necessarily the people I thought would like us. In more recent times this feeling has passed, because you can’t help who likes your band. You have to try and embrace it as much as you possibly can. I’ve realised I should be thrilled that people want to hear our music at all, because there are a lot of people who are not afforded the gift of writing music and making art for other people to hear and see. (Sunday League)