Chastity's heft is often uncommonly pretty. You can hear the industrial-metal gruel of Godflesh, Smashing Pumpkins' snarl swirled in sweetness and Hum's distorted stargaze all through Brandon Williams' project, yet that heft appears to function as a way to ponder heavy ideas just as much as sound.
"Children" leads off Chastity's debut album, Death Lust, with a guitar tone that swims through concrete walls like liquefied stone. This is the kind of monotonic and massive riff that commands a legion to the front of the stage, raging in slow motion, as Williams coos over the beautiful bombast. It's paired with a video written, cast and produced by himself (with direction by Justin Singer) that mimics Chastity's sonic dichotomy, based on a series of events that happened in Whitby, Ontario.
"This is a close-up on the practice of institutional racism that's revealed itself in my hometown by members of the police," Williams writes in a statement to NPR Music.
On the night of Dec. 28, 2016, an off-duty police officer named Michael Theriualt and his brother allegedly beat a young black man, Dafonte Miller, with a steel pipe while he was walking near his home. The 19-year-old lost sight in his left eye. When Miller tried calling 911, Theriualt took Miller's phone and told the operator that he was arresting the teen. Theriualt's father, John Theriualt, a former Toronto detective, attempted to interfere in the investigation, leading to his dismissal from the Professional Standards Unit. The two brothers have been charged with aggravated assault, assault with a weapon and public mischief; they appeared in court in February, and are expected to resume in May. The Theriualts, and both the Durham and Toronto police departments have all been allegedly involved in a cover-up.
"Children" channels the outrage of a community into a beautifully shot video that spotlights both the vulnerability and the solidarity of youth.
"John, Christian and Michael Theriault, Toronto and Durham police are a threat to public safety," Williams writes. "Black Lives Matter. How much do black lives matter to police?"