Sam Eastgate, the mind behind LA Priest, has finally released an album to follow the single track he released under the moniker in 2007. Though until Inji there had been eight years of radio silence from LA Priest, Sam Eastgate was plenty busy, chiefly with the recently disbanded Late of the Pier. Eastgate takes a more mellow approach with this album, but the grungy disco and surprising use of glitchy synth keeps Inji from becoming boring.
The album begins strongly with “Occasion,” a grimy, grinding track with deep vocals. Think Aphex Twin, but with more structure. The second track is where things really get moving. “Lady’s In Trouble” has the beat of a reggae song that’s forgotten it’s a reggae song, and the vocals of a Swedish electro artist. It sounds like a hodgepodge but it works. The best part about “Lady’s In Trouble,” and even the next song, “Gene Washes With New Arm,” is they are so very original.
“Gene Washes With New Arm” is a dense soundscape fashioned from synth and static, and is vaguely reminiscent of Royksopp, but dirtier. It is a surprise after the swiftly moving first two tracks, but “Gene Washes With New Arm” serves to slow down the record. “Oino,” which comes immediately afterward, is the poppiest this album gets. Despite the guitar solo and relatively traditional melody, LA Priest manages to keep “Oino” from sounding like anyone but LA Priest.
The closers of the album, “A Good Sign” and “Mountain” are surprises. “A Good Sign” features layered, slightly flat vocals that reside in another one of his deep soundscapes, but the intro is all traditional instruments and acoustic guitar. “Mountain” is almost dainty. Flutes, water droplets, bongos and one of the most charming falsetto melodies to ever exist lives in “Mountain.” Not only is this the best way to end the record, it is also the best song on it.
Separate the parts of any of these tracks, and it is easy to see who influences LA Priest. However, listen to this well-crafted album like it should be experienced, as a whole, and it will take you to somewhere entirely new.