LABEL: LÖVELY RECORDS
WORDS: JO COSGROVE
There is no denying that electronic tastes and samples in alternative music is at a high in recent years. It’s a style that is seemingly impossible to hate or grow sick of; many rock and punk outfits have switched out their guitars for synthesisers and most of them have benefited from such a turn. For this reason, the rise of Priest is nothing new – but is something to be excited about.
The new EP follows the group’s debut record, ‘New Flesh’, and has been described as following themes of falling and climbing back up anew and refreshed. A unique storybook of inspiration.
The EP begins with the lead single and title track, ‘Obey’, and straightaway the group are showing the listener they know how to use their established synth sound. As ‘New Flesh’ was described as taking influence from the soundtrack of the 1980s, ‘Obey’ shows that Priest are taking a more modern – but not too modern – approach with reminiscing back to late nights in the 1990s, when raves were at the height of their infamy. ‘Obey’ brings on a reminiscence of such a time: neon, black lighting, and fun and frantic dance moves. When the track slows down for the second half of its duration, the mood turns mellow and eerier. From euphoria to fear, it can be exciting and dramatic. And that’s the hook that drag the fans in.
“…following themes of falling and climbing back up anew and refreshed. A unique storybook of inspiration.”
The occult-adjacent sense continues in the track ‘Neuromancer’; a natural continuation of the supernatural atmosphere. From intrusive and obsessive lyrics build upon a storyline that may spark a scare in the listener’s mind – perhaps an artistic manipulation at work? The title plays upon the occupation of a necromancer; a sorcerer of black magic. Playing upon such an unfavourable practice, it can be inferred that ‘Neuromancer’ refers to one who plays more with mentality than magic. Hiding these deep undertones within a bouncy beat, danceable and attention-seeking, it is nothing new in the electronic genre. It’s easy to slip in less-than-favourable themes within more-than-favourable melodies, almost sending over subliminal messages and meanings, but rest assured no one is being tricked into any wrongdoing. Just having a good night out.
There is an obvious pattern, as the tracks build up slowly and the beat comes in to emphasise the electric theatricality in the music. The penultimate tune, ‘Street Spirit’ does switch the game up slightly by giving the listener distorted and autotuned vocals. Singing alongside a minimal musical accompaniment, the running theme of spookiness is just as strong as the EP began with but there is something about the altered voice that escalates the unnerving. A new level is reached as the listener approaches the end of the EP, and it can be to make sure the record ends so memorably, but not memorably in a comforting way.
“Priest have made a piece of alternative art with ‘Obey’ that can strike those with intrigue and wary interest”
There is such a journey throughout ‘Obey’, and the greatest impact comes from a full playthrough. Therefore, as much as it gets stereotyped as void of meaning and empty sounds that aim to replicate “real” music, it should still be held to the utmost of importance when it comes to artistic value. Electronic music is dismissed as being nonsense and can be considered one of the worst genres of music, but this cannot be farther from the truth.
The music that Priest has given the world with ‘Obey’ is complete with a unique style, and discusses subjects that in more serious situations can be discomforting and end up being pushed aside. That is what makes music such a powerful medium of art: it says what many others in the world are afraid to; ‘Neuromancer’ can be a thought-provoker, for example, if the listener looks deeper into the words and the hidden meanings than require thought and study. However, as per with most electro/synth music, this is most likely not everyone’s priority.
Overall, Priest have made a piece of alternative art with ‘Obey’ that can strike those with intrigue and wary interest. Fitting for a Halloween disco or the closing hours of a nightclub, it might not be the most popular of the music scene right now but there will surely be an audience.