Lightlessness is nothing new and neither is anything else, for that matter.
Ok, here are a couple things I notice to Priests’ favor, right off the bat:
- A cool band name
- The androgyny and literal irreverence is good, very “punk” (although apparently they went online bit**ing about people calling them “punk” so it looks like I’m wrong again).
- – They’re probably better than L7 and Veruca Salt combined.
- – They do seem capable in some right of favoring substance over style, melody and texture over production gadgetry or “shtick” if you will, as “Jesus’ Son” does move along methodically and with some purpose with a noticeable element of musical richness.
- -They’re obviously Velvet Underground fans what with the song title “Jesus’ Son,” which culls straight from Lou Reed’s classic monologue over variant guitar tempos “Heroin.”
Unfortunately, then, old man limitation seems to rear its ugly head here and there and produce that:
- They seem almost preternaturally adverse to infusing the songs with any true sort of originality or innovation, either emotional or stylistic (apropos of how I mention those two faux-grunge bands, this album really could have come out in ’94, sh** even ’88, for Christ’s sake).
- Katie Alice Greer is shouldering too much of the singing load, whether through necessity or through selfishness, and she sounds worn out, both physically and emotionally (which I guess I’d prefer to like a fake-angry Karen O type psycho, which would more likely come from the West Coast than D.C., probably) already by the track two title track. Apropos, too, of how earlier I mention the Velvet Underground reference earlier, even through this second song the listener has no idea if the band is even TRYING to be funny, which the first two song titles would indicate that they were. Anyway, one thing’s for sure, they’re NOT (actually funny, that is), which of course makes the apparent fact that Katie Alice Greer is shooting smack just sad and pointless, particularly in light of how this band is not in any way one-one hundredth as good as The Velvet Underground, even as the latter was on “Who Loves the Sun?” and “I Found a Reason,” which is to say, the two worst songs they ever laid to wax.
Priests got attention from Rolling Stone and yeah, they’re women and they’re mad, here’s another gang of angry bit**es poised to take over the world. Well, the main problem is that Patti Smith did this exact thing, basically, in the 1970’s, and given how they’re packaged as a bunch of unruly femme-badgers, the actual musical intensity and meaning come nowhere near to corresponding to the level of premade hype. They’re sort of like L7 and Veruca Salt in that they’ve just replaced originality with the phenomenon of BEING FEMALE. Well, look at Liz Phair and PJ Harvey — they’re the best because they bared it all, didn’t hide behind historical or geographical references or let their uteruses do the talking for them (well, that depends on how you look at it, I suppose).
Priests are punk rock. They are punk rock, whether or not they want me to think of them as that, and punk rock is good, it’s something I need in my life, although drummer G.L. Jaguar seems to pounce forth with such mundanity and inability to alter the beat that I tend to wonder if it’s even a real person back there. Does this band have promise? Yeah, I don’t think there’s any question. I almost feel like half of it depends on whether or not the leering, jeering public is willing to allow them to grow, or if they’re so he** bent on caging them up as these rocking cuties with no obligation to spearhead the overall progress of the form.