Broken Prayer isn't satisfied with humanity. On the opening track "Kid," from their blistering synth-dripping, hard-hitting record Misanthropocentric aka Droid's Blood (stream in the link) on Sorry State Records, Scott Plant, the vocalist, laments "It wasn't supposed to be born this way/it wasn't supposed to be born this way/so ugly/so dumb." What's so disfigured? What's so broken? A lot of things. And a lot of things that are way-the-fuck-out-of-line. Scott took a moment before playing "White Children" when I saw Broken Prayer in August of last year. The Ferguson shooting was still fresh and as a St. Louis native, Scott took a moment to talk about what it and the subsequent unrest meant for him. But Scott also touched upon the idea that we're so used to seeing people of color as the victims of police violence. What happens when the radius of violence trickles into other neighborhoods? What do you do when the perimeter of your circle of (what was actually fragile) idealism is breached?
Mark Plant, Scott's brother and lead guitarist of Broken Prayer, and I actually talked for over an hour at the Mousetrap, a DIY spot in Chicago, about what had been going on in Ferguson. He knew a lot more than me about what had happened and what this meant for St. Louis and furthermore what this meant for people like us who weren't in authoritarian roles. And it scares the shit out of me. And I'm a dude who passes for White without a second glance. I can only imagine what sort of fear a Black American or any person of color feels on a daily basis. Another way to think of Scott's lyric "How could God let this happen to White children" is "How could God let white children end up becoming the monster cops we see on TV strangling minorities and shooting kids?"
That's what's so ugly and so dumb. This cyclic violence. The creation of self-conscious authority ready to attack "the other." The idea that only some should feel safe. And beyond all that, this fucking stay-at-home-and-watch-people-get-hurt apathy.
This record stays with you, especially in light of recent (and recurring) events. It's catchy enough for the lyrics to get lodged in your head, and thought-provoking enough to make you want to do something about it.