I incorrectly said this band was from North Carolina when I talked about their last record, when in fact they’re from Chicago. So I’d like to take a moment to say I’m sorry to Broken Prayer. (Up until recently I had a tendency to assume that every band on Sorry State was from North Carolina.) Another thing I said about Broken Prayer was that they sounded like some crusty D-beat guys that let one their younger brother’s play his synths with them but only if he got fucked-up on cold medicine and cocaine first. That statement is also false. They are not D-beat. At least not glaringly obvious D-beat. And secondly, the synths (if that’s even the correct terminology) are actually played by Liz Panella of Earth Girls, and Libyans. She might be someone’s bro, but she’s nobody’s brother. And as for the cold medicine and cocaine, well, that was purely speculation on my part as much as it was a thinly-veiled attempt to make myself sound cooler than I actually am, and a way to write about punk for the millionth time without using the same old vocabulary like, “noisy” and ” weird.”
This new LP is a monster. And I mean that quite literally, because as far as I can surmise Misanthropocentric AKA Droid’s Blood is a concept album about an ugly baby that grows up to be an even uglier monster. On the other hand, perhaps there’s some metaphorical chicanery going on here. Meaning the title and theme might also speak to some larger societal woes-type thing that parallels recent issues involving class, gender, race, and cops killing people without consequence. I feel kind of bad for making such a broad sweeping statement in a blatantly flippant manner but I thought I should mention it just in case that is actually the deal. At the same time I don’t want to intentionally draw some deeper hidden meaning to this album than is intended…which I may have just done. So I’ll apologize to the band once again and just move on.
There’s two things in particular that contribute to the band’s unique sound. Obviously one is Panella’s synths. Stylistically they are all over the place. They can surge forth with maniacal abandon as they do on “Blood Suckers”, be delicate and melodic like they are on “Colors”, or blister your brain until it feels like a burnt marshmallow that’s still too close to the fire ala “Kid.”
The other driving force is Scott Plant’s vocals. Plant (formally of Civic Progress) flexes the same type of self-loathsome, angry, in-your-face stance that Pissed Jeans’ Matt Korvette does. His lyrics and delivery have a tendency to push buttons, bouncing between societal cynicism and sociopath-like sarcasm. He never goes over the line and says anything outright offensive but he’s not shy about confronting the listener with the realities that this world we live in is just plain fucked up. Songs like “Good Dudes” exists somewhere between Pissed Jeans and Condominium, with Plant’s vocals resembling the latter’s Matt Castore. Meanwhile “Blood Suckers” shows Plant occupying the same headspace as Watery Love’s Ritchie Charles, as he sing-speaks, “This world is a piece of shit. I can’t wait to leave it.” And on “White Children” his needle-poking sarcasm comes to a head, as he asks, “How could God let this happen to white children?”
Misanthropocentric AKA Droid’s Blood is not easily categorized. And that’s exactly what’s so great about it. It's bands like Broken Prayer, with their willingness to try anything and their pushing of the boundaries and the envelopes, that still keep me enthusiastic for punk after all these years. If you’re looking for something out of the ordinary that makes you feel uneasy and maybe even a bit confused, well, this is it.
9.0 / 10
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