TV Priest is that missing piece between newer school Post-Punk luminaries Coliseum or Radio 4 and legends like Gang Of Four. Add in a front person who has a penchant for non-sensical barking sermons in the vein of Clutch’s Neil Fallon or Nick Cave and you have yourself the makings of one very fine collection of truly unique modern Rawk.
On Uppers, TV Priest create a sound that’s immediately infectious with this kind of controlled chaos spurred from clumsy, jangling guitar sounds and the way the lyrics tell a story that’s akin to a reader jumping into the middle of a novel with no idea of the plot and spending the rest of the time playing catch-up. Still with us? Fantastic!
“The Big Curve” echoes that sentiment with a merging of disparate noises which charge at each other at a breakneck speed before colliding and resulting in a mini big bang to bring you, the listeners, the TV Priest sound. “Press Gang” is a little more straightforward with Nic Bueth’s humming low end mesmerizing while vocalist Charlie Drinkwater maniacally barks like a menacing ringmaster. Ed Kelland’s drums thump through the frenetic “Leg Room” with Alex Sprogis’ guitars meandering overhead, weaving in and out of the proceedings with pointed punches, as Drinkwater’s sing-songy spoken word style cries out.
Later on, “Journal of a Plague Year” is all around hypnotic with Bueth’s repeated refrains and spacey synths reminiscent and of Soul Coughing’s Alternative Jazz hybrid while “History Week” is a little transcendent, a little Trip-Hop, and a whole lotta great.
Smack dab in the middle of all this lies a true banger in “Decoration” which is huge on beats, huge on hooks, and just huge all around. Kelland’s drumming practically pulsates here as does Bueth’s bass serving as a counterpoint to Drinkwater’s off the cuff word eruptions. “Slideshow” is peppered with raucous Sprogis guitars before heading toward a decidedly more traditional chorus than what TV Priest has done so far and then Drinkwater’s smooth as shit delivery in “Fathers and Sons” takes center stage surrounded by a burgeoning buzz by Bueth, Kelland, and Sprogis circling around his voice.
“Powers of Ten” manages to still keep things interesting towards the end of Uppers, ascending as it glimmers, with sporadic sounds crisscrossing the sonic map laid forth by TV Priest. Before we reach the end, “This Island” is here to give listeners glorious Post-Punk perfection with an immense wall of sound constructed and then driven into yer earholes amidst screaming guitars from Sprogis and Bueth’s glistening keys coming like maximum Maximo Park, if you will.
For a band born out of a global pandemic, TV Priest sound like wizened vets throughout Uppers and especially during the epic finale of “Saintless” which is a sprawling, bouncing new anthem filled with defining performances from Drinkwater, Kelland, Sprogis, and Bueth as they head toward one another for one last contrasting collision to create that unique sound.
Uppers comes at listeners courtesy of Sub Pop Records on February 5th. Pre-orders are up now and can be purchased in a variety of formats all conveniently located here. For more on TV Priest, follow them on the media websites that are social by clicking here, here, or here.