Thoughts and Prayers – David J and The Comrades (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

It’s an obvious subject for any right minded creative to write about, especially as I sit here to pen this review the day after the most vicious, religiously motivated, terrorist attacks in New Zealand’s history are filling the news channels. Whilst some might find this difficult territory to navigate, might pull the necessary punches a bit too short or handle the subject matter in a clumsy fashion, David J gets straight to the point.

American gun attitudes mean that killing sprees have become the norm, the differentiation between terrorist and maverick madman is made along lines of culture, colour and creed and the whole thing is perpetuated by corporate interest, money, a strange attitude to historical freedoms and, not least, the NRA.

Musically it is suitably dark and brooding, and even with raw edged, guitar solos and delicate musical motifs framing the song, it is the lyrics, the message, the unambiguous nature of the words that are the heart of the song. Its accompanying song, Hole in the Middle was written by Emily Jane White as a response to the policies of the Bush administration, which just shows how little things have changed in the last 20 years and even highlights how less shocking such events now are to us. 

Such songs and such sentiment should land like a depth charge into the argument surrounding gun control, the fact that they will probably not even make a ripple shows just how big the challenge is. Even in the stark terms that David J uses, such songs are not shocking, they are documentary rather than sensation, they are everyday language rather than heightened rhetoric. And that, in a nutshell, is the problem.

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