No, it's not an MC Hammer cover. The sentiment's pretty similar, though, if a lot more solemn: "What you gonna do when the beans are gone?" Tom Waits asks. "Pray now," answers the band. The song is a dread-filled industrial blues, a clangorous call-and-response that magnifies the larger concerns that Brooklyn-based Book of Knots have been voicing for a few years now.
Like the group's 2004 self-titled debut, their upcoming Traineater looks west to dying Midwestern cities and wonders what became of the American ingenuity that built those towns and fed the populace. Fittingly, "Pray" is almost all percussion, rattling and coughing like rusted machinery running down; the harmonica sounds like venting steam. Over the din, Waits, in his usual growl, gives the verses a pragmatism that's humane, yet deeply fearful: Layoffs and shutdowns loom, the end is near, and the cold futility of his advice almost counts as painful irony.
MP3: The Book of Knots [ft. Tom Waits]: "Pray" [from Traineater LP; available 3/20/07 on Anti-]