Priests, “Nothing Feels Natural”
Nothing Feels Natural
Punk music and culture exist as a reaction to society and politics, so it makes sense that a lot of the groundbreaking punk, post-punk, or hardcore bands that you’ve seen advertised on the back of someone’s leather jacket hail from the Washington, DC, area. Our nation’s capital has spawned, among others, Bad Brains, Fugazi, Rites of Spring, Minor Threat, and Scream (where one David Eric Grohl cut his teeth). Nothing Feels Natural is the much-anticipated debut LP from Priests, who’ve risen to the top of the DC scene since their formation in 2011. They’re releasing it on their own label, Sister Polygon, after two years of writing, rehearsing, and touring behind the material that eventually made its way to the record. And it shows—this is a polished, well-produced album.
Much of Nothing Feels Natural sounds familiar in that it’s recognizable as Priests while being reminiscent of a lot of classics. The title track takes cues from ’80s new wave, sounding a lot like something Echo & the Bunnymen could’ve done, and “Suck” seems inspired by More Songs About Buildings and Food–era Talking Heads. This is a diverse record, more so than their earlier EPs, and vocalist Katie Alice Greer is appropriately versatile; she belts on “JJ” and takes it way down on “Lelia 20.” Drummer Daniele Daniele’s spoken-word turn on “No Big Bang” is accompanied by the band, and it’s followed by the beautiful string “Interlude,” which is followed by the janglier title track. They all live in the same space easily and successfully.
Despite its name, a lot of Nothing Feels Natural ends up feeling pretty natural while simultaneously being a bit of a departure from what Priests fans are used to. It’s the result of a band retaining their own sound while incorporating and exploring other genres and influences. In the grand scheme of things, it’s not revolutionary, but in the life and growth of Priests, it absolutely is.