The band’s full-length debut, Nothing Feels Natural — released in February, but brewing for years now — feels prophetic in the age of Trump, from its title to its anxiety-laden tunes. But don’t think Priests are just partisan opportunists; this is the same outfit that once screeched, “Barack Obama killed something in me and I’m going to get him for it.”
Album opener “Appropriate” conjures a host of like-minded touchstones — from X to The Cramps to, somewhat oddly, Geraldine Fibbers/Ethyl Meatplow frontwoman Carla Bozulich — but never feels derivative as it moves from driving to eerily atmospheric and back again.
Singer Katie Alice Greer’s piercing howl is front and center, but the sometimes off-kilter rhythm section of bassist Taylor Mulitz and drummer Daniele Daniele is just as potent, freeing guitarist G.L. Jaguar to drop reverb-laden riffs as the mood strikes him.
Priests creates a potent, uneasy mix. Take “Nicki,” which sounds like Clinic crossed with Warpaint and on which mood-altering guitar clangs mingle with vigorous rhythms and Greer’s relatively restrained harmonizing. The very next track, “Lelia 20,” opens with urgent drumming, an angular guitar riff and Greer’s ruminations on her “worst traits” and what is “dying inside” of her. Album closer “Suck” sounds like Talking Heads by way of The Slits — terse and funky yet somehow seeming on the verge of falling apart at any minute.