Cain and Abel
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Cain and Abel

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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. - Exclaim!


After being unceremoniously booted from next-big-thing the Most Serene Republic, and having his name mysteriously removed from the writing credits on the second pressing of their debut, Peter Van Helvoort has struck back with a musical vengeance on You Lost the Human Race. Conceived as an atheistic re-interpretation of the Old Testament, the songs here blend the hard-hitting emo of Braid with demented campfire sing-alongs ending in Locust-esque blasts of spastic noise. Van Helvoort’s love of strange group vocals, a holdover from some of the more interesting moments he penned on Most Serene Republic’s The Underwater Cinematographer, is in full force here, filling out the experimental sound of songs such as “Death; Under the Excruciating Weight of…” While Van Helvoort’s vocals take some time to warm up to, the disc rewards repeat listens, just as its intricate, beautiful artwork demands a careful eye.(Independent) - Exclaim!


If you’ve always found Canadian history boring then listening to Peter van Helvoort of Cain & Abel’s lyrics off of the bands sophomore release, Up North, will definitely make you think twice about our less then sterling past, and become more interested. If their band name didn’t give you the hint that their big history buffs (Cain & Abel coming from the old testament), these lyrics most definitely drive the point home. Cain & Abel have come out with an insightful and seamless follow up album to their charming debut You Lost the Human Race. This album gives both a history lesson and a captivating listening experience, as it’s not easy to not get drawn into van Helvoort’s lyrics about the forgotten history of Canada's first nations people. The unethical and brutal treatment of these people has long be overlooked and spawned ignorance about the assimilation and demise of Canadian culture. It’s about time someone started singing about it!

The album starts off the with light, ballad-esque title track which not only sets a precedent for well thought out lyrics but the catchy melodies which combine a grab-bag of musical instruments. Each song weaves together a timeline of the arrival of the European settlers and the ultimate demise of original Canadian culture and the people of Canada. On tracks such as “Nature Speaks With Me” the upbeat and anthemic tunes betray the sensitive subject matter of the lyrics allowing the listener to enjoy each song without feeling preached to, a feat in itself. Too often songs with a message give you an opinion on a platter, but van Helvoort’s lyrics give some depth to relating past Canadian issues with the ones we face daily about identity and our lack thereof. By the sounds of their sweet and smart pop tunes, one could assume these booksmart musicians perfect tourmates with the likes of Mugshot or Cute is What We Aim For. This album is more than ideal for singing along to without a care in the world about how you sound. Try it!

Cain & Abel have really hit a note (no pun intended) with Up North, hitting hard with lyrics like “…Come to save me from my own ways, without your God we’re simply slaves…” backed up by solid poppy rock based tunes. Up North is a superb listen, combining a history lesson with music, warranting praise and a place on any play list!

(Sunday League 2007: www.sundayleaguerecords.com) - AudioBlood


“I’m possibly the furthest thing from a prodigy, I
had to work to be so bad at music,” humbly
explains Peter Van Helvoort, the singer and
multi–instrumentalist of the Acton, Ontario
band, Cain and Abel.
Last year the band recorded their debut
album, You Lost The Human Race, with Cain
and Abel as a trio ironically including Von
Helvoort’s brother Kelly; but neither has any
intention of killing the other. Since the release
of the album, the band’s lineup has expanded
to a four–piece to include Kelly Bilan, a
fifteen–year–old drummer extraordinare. “We’re
lucky that Kelly’s a machine on drums, he’s like
a robot, it’s crazy. He learned most of the
album a week before we recorded the original
one, so he’s uncommonly good for his age and
for a drummer in general,” praises Van
Helvoort.
You Lost The Human Race is a religiously
curious concept album in that it was written by
Von Helvoort – who considers himself super
interested in religion, but not relgious. He
explains the approach he took to writing the
album, “I wanted to write something about how
I was displeased with the fact that people were
born into living in sin. You’re pretty much born
to know that you’re going to do wrong and I
thought that was horrible. You’re being told that
you’re going to screw up, you’re going to be a
failure, that you’re going to have to ask for
forgiveness. I just thought that the things of
church have become more of a scare tactic,
instead of something that was spiritual and
beautiful. I thought that if I used characters from
the Bible, it was almost ironic because I was
trying to tell the story from the view of the
people who had to live up to these impossible
standards from a God and seeing it though
their eyes of how hard it was for them.”
“I think, because of the name, that people will ultimately assume that we’re religious and I
kinda asked for it, because I wrote a whole CD
about it, “ laughs Von Helvoort.
Cain and Abel’s summer plans including
playing SCENE Festival in St. Catharines and
touring with Everlea across Ontario and also
making a brief stop in Montreal. In August, the
band will take a break from touring to record a
new album that is to be released before
Christmas. “It’s another concept album that’s
basically about this Native loving his family,
losing the love of his life all for what other
people across the water believed they should
know about,” describes Von Helvoort. “It’s
about the suffering of all these people that die
for the beliefs of people who lived nowhere
near them. They all died to feed a hunger of
greedy people.”
One of Cain and Abel’s demos can be heard
on their web site and should be featured on
their new album. “Guns and Guilt” is
suprisingly upbeat for a song that features the
chorus “I can’t find the seeds to sow my land, I
can’t find my love to hold her hand.” Cain and
Abel beautifully combine the use of profound
lyrics with cute pop melodies reminiscent of
their label–mates Five Blank Pages, or
indie–rock favourites Joan of Arc.
“I think you should go as far as you can
possibly reach to try and express yourself with
as many instruments as possible. But,
unfortunately it’s impossible to do that live,”
notes Von Helvoort.
[JORDY YACK] - The Pulse


Acton's Cain and Abel follow up their debut concept album You Lost the Human Race with, er, another concept album. Band leader and former Most Serene Republican Peter Van Helvoort has crafted an impressionistic narrative epitaph for the Canadian aborigines – the liner notes include a dedication to "the millions that perished to build this land." Far from being a weepy Canadian Heritage Moment, Up North hits the history books with complex pop hooks and a thematic sprawl one might describe as easy prog. The band navigates the genre-jumping arrangements with superb technical proficiency, occasionally at the expense of emotional impact. Though the single "Good Morning Son" showcases Van Helvoort's knack for anthemic pop-punk, the subject matter seems more suited to the subtle arrangement of harmonica, mandolin and acoustic guitars in "Nature Speaks With Me." Well-meaning and ambitious in its revisionist intent, A People's History it is not.

CHRIS BILTON - Eye Weekly


Who? Former Most Serene Republic guitarist Peter van Helvoort's new band with their second album - and it's a concept album about the history of Canada. For real.

Sounds Like? Jangly pop-rock with plenty of tambourine, hand claps and sing along parts. About Canadian History.

How Is It? Creative, innovative, and catchy at the same time - three things any pop record needs to succeed. Keep an eye on these guys. - Alternative Press


If you’ve always found Canadian history boring then listening to Peter van Helvoort of Cain & Abel’s lyrics off of the bands sophomore release, Up North, will definitely make you think twice about our less then sterling past, and become more interested. If their band name didn’t give you the hint that their big history buffs (Cain & Abel coming from the old testament), these lyrics most definitely drive the point home. Cain & Abel have come out with an insightful and seamless follow up album to their charming debut You Lost the Human Race. This album gives both a history lesson and a captivating listening experience, as it’s not easy to not get drawn into van Helvoort’s lyrics about the forgotten history of Canada's first nations people. The unethical and brutal treatment of these people has long be overlooked and spawned ignorance about the assimilation and demise of Canadian culture. It’s about time someone started singing about it!

The album starts off the with light, ballad-esque title track which not only sets a precedent for well thought out lyrics but the catchy melodies which combine a grab-bag of musical instruments. Each song weaves together a timeline of the arrival of the European settlers and the ultimate demise of original Canadian culture and the people of Canada. On tracks such as “Nature Speaks With Me” the upbeat and anthemic tunes betray the sensitive subject matter of the lyrics allowing the listener to enjoy each song without feeling preached to, a feat in itself. Too often songs with a message give you an opinion on a platter, but van Helvoort’s lyrics give some depth to relating past Canadian issues with the ones we face daily about identity and our lack thereof. By the sounds of their sweet and smart pop tunes, one could assume these booksmart musicians perfect tourmates with the likes of Mugshot or Cute is What We Aim For. This album is more than ideal for singing along to without a care in the world about how you sound. Try it!

Cain & Abel have really hit a note (no pun intended) with Up North, hitting hard with lyrics like “…Come to save me from my own ways, without your God we’re simply slaves…” backed up by solid poppy rock based tunes. Up North is a superb listen, combining a history lesson with music, warranting praise and a place on any play list! - Audio Blood


Discography

Keep on keepin' on/Mosey on (released september 2007)

Up North (release march 6th 2007)
* single 'good morning son' has been given radio play on the EDGE 102.1
*album charted number 85 for the ear-shot college/university charts in canada just a month after it's release (top 200 are charted)
* song 'Good Morning Son' charted number 5 for CBC radio 3
* reached 130,000 plays for streaming

You Lost The Human Race (september 2005)
*played across canada on college/university radio

Photos

Bio

Biography
Cain and Abel began as an outlet for ex - Most Serene Republic (Arts & Crafts) guitarist/song writer Peter van Helvoort to explore his changing musical tastes, quickly turning from bedroom recordings into a full-fledged project that has created waves right from the very start.

Before even playing for an audience, the Acton, Ontario band released the concept album "You Lost the Human Race" to an already growing fan base and quickly established themselves as a premiere live act. The support received has created opportunities for Cain & Abel to support some of their favorite artists in the likes of The New Amsterdams, Owen, Moneen, Attack in Black, Final Fantasy, Cancer Bats, the Holly Springs Disaster, Aloha, Cursed, Ten Second Epic, The Junction, Anberlin & Silverstein. They have also had the opportunity to showcase their music at the Vans Warped Tour, Over the Top Festival, Canadian Music Week, Brampton Indie Arts, Rock the Mill, Scene Music Festival, the Beating Heart, & North-by-North East. The band has been welcomed across the continent by print media such as Exclaim!, Alternative Press, Eye, Toronto Sun, Pulse, Audioblood and many more.

Six months later in May of 2006, Cain & Abel signed with Sunday League Records (with a distribution deal through Universal Records) and quickly began writing for their follow up album, "Up North". Van Helvoort's inspiration for "Up North" was to conceptualize our views of Canadian history, forcing us to put into question past perceptions. Spending two months in the studio with Producer/Engineer Dan Weston (Attack in Black, Sydney, Rosesdead), allowed the band the opportunity to deliver a most compelling album that captured the youth and heart of the young band into ten genre jumping songs. Sunday League Records released "Up North" on March 6th, 2007, just a year and a half into the band's career. Within a short two months of the album’s release, the band lost two of its founding members and the label they called home went bankrupt leaving very little hope in the eyes of the young band.

Dysfunction turned into opportunity once more as the group replaced its two lost members and began writing new songs hoping to ‘reinvent’ the band for a third time in two years. Cain and Abel pushed ‘Up North’ to radio across the country reaching #85 on exclaim’s top 200, and a staggering #5 on CBC’s radio3 weekly countdown (as well as an interview on the station). The band filmed a music video to coincide with the album’s release to further the DIY attitude the band had been developing. Cain and Abel played small city after small city, weekend tour after weekend tour, awaiting the high school graduation of its youthful members (16, 18, 19, and 22) in order to begin touring fulltime. August of this year saw singer Peter van Helvoort recording, mixing, and producing two new albums entitled “Mosey On” and “Keep On Keepin’ On” in a short two week period; taking influences from “the Band” to “Steely Dan” to “Ben Kweller” to “the Who”. The new music abandoned the concept albums of the past and focused more on song writing, soul, and ultimately capturing the heart of classic rock and roll. The group filmed their second DIY music video in the weeks following and managed to get it featured on both myspace.com (as featured video) and MTV Canada. The band embarked on a self booked 3 week Ontario tour between November and December and will be heading East in March and West in May of 2008. The new albums mark the release of over 30 original songs in just two years of being a band, an impressive feat for such a young band.