June 3, 2014

EP: Priests - Bodies and Control and Money and Power

Get ready to be floored.

The first and only time I have seen Priests live was at a tiny house show near my college. The lineup was unbeatable: Downtown Boys, Palberta, Birth of Flower, Tender Cousins, and of course, PRIESTS. I entered the dingy house right as singer Katie Alice Greer was launching into "Leave Me Alone," a standout track from 2013's combative Tape Two. Although Priests put on a highly physical show, inspiring their audience to thrash alongside them, I stood frozen at the back of the room, completely floored by the performance.

Bodies and Control and Money and Power. A mouthful of a title. One that suggests the complicated interrelationships between sex, consumerism, material worth, and politics. Once again, Greer, bassist Taylor Mulitz, guitarist G.L. Jaguar, and drummer Daniele Daniele directly assault the outrageous problems of the world through a punk lens. On the first song, "Design Within," Greer sings, "How easily we forget in order to live / but is that analgesic preventative?" Priests refuse to turn a blind eye to the hypocritical nature of our world, but recognize the difficulties of existence: "I don't understand why I do what I do / I'm just a bored teenager sniffing glue." This lyric is from the final song, "And Breeding," which seems to express all Greer's anger and confusion in one exhaustive vocal exertion. Greer repeats most lyrics in a voice that constantly changes, switching from snarling to seductive to screaming. As in poetry, these slight shifts in inflection emphasize the phrase's significance. Each reiteration seems to heighten the seriousness of the words, begging you to listen. Through repetition, Priests turn the concept of a pop hook upside-down, transforming short catchy phrases from meaningless filler to urgent chants. This is most evident on the song "New," which stretches one sentence into a 2 minute song: "When you are just a kid you want everything to be new but you go into an old house and everything is so scary." The line seems obvious and understandable, but Greer attributes it a deeper meaning by spending time with each word. And that is basically the gist of Priests: a band who cares enough about the ability of their music to educate that they actually can do just that.

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Listen to Priests on bandcamp.

Written by Quinn Moreland