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A Different Kind of Prayers

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by CHRISTIAN ARAYA

Cholo Goth? Gesundheit. It’s not your body’s attempt to cleanse its congested nasal cavities of ancestral spirits, ghouls, and ghosts. Actually, it is a lifestyle. And Prayers’ album–Young Gods–attests to that (don’t worry, this is not a test).

The San Diego-based duo neighbor La Santa Muerte’s drug war incubator across the border. So it’s to no surprise that two deathly subcultures–Goth and Gangsta–would eventually intertwine so close to the US-Mexico border. The energy from Leafar Seyer’s words in the first track “Young Gods” (album of the same name) come at you like a pitbull, and producer Dave Parley’s hardcore bass drums make sure your heart is pumping at manic beats per minute. Their music video paints a rough mural.

The new effort from Prayers is not for the timid.

“Young Gods” gives life to the album even though much of it is about violence and death. It is easy to see how the music meshes easily into the inner-city (even your favorite graveyard). You’re riding the city metro late at night. You’re sedated by the grit, violence, and vaccuum of it all. Parley’s beats carry you through a drum machine excursion of inner-city war zones. Grafitti, thuglife, drugs. Vice documented and preserved (or embalmed if you must) what Cholo Goth is and where it comes from.

Then, without notice “Love is the Enemy” dims the lights to a somber shade. The melody sounds like something that you’d want to listen to while excavating your favorite underground cave (Ooo, look! A bat). Its back-beats bounce off crystallized walls (sonar mode activate), stalagmites, and stalactites.

Although these cholos have had other banda and punk counterparts (remember Manic Hispanic and Akwid? Yeah we do too) they are the first to stitch goth with thug life in the middle of the day (hiss, the light, the light, it burns). The Cure fans will hear Robert Smith’s influence in Seyer’s brit intonations (especially when laced with a heavy dose of digital-delay).

“Friends are Poison” gives blunt advice about the relationships we all find ourselves in at one point or another. Instead of elaborating on how to spot positive ones you are warned that words about you will always flow behind your back (real friends stab you in the front).

Initially “WestEndGirls” appears to be a reanimation (more brains) of a Pet Shop Boys original (you should know better). It’s a primer for the final lap.

Parley’s beats in “187” come at you with a stabbing motion, like in a prison yard with a shank (a really nice shiny one). The good thing is that these beats will keep you on your feet (in case you need to make a drive-thru run).