That Nothing Feels Natural Glow
Washington D.C. based indie-rock group Priests’ full-length debut album, Nothing Feels Natural, is a magnificent mixture of Siouxsie and the Banshees-era punk and everything that’s good about today’s indie rock.
In the first couple punk-driven songs, it is clear that singer Katie Alice Greer is an immensely talented vocalist, belting in a way that is as exciting as hearing “Oh Bondage Up Yours!” for the first time.
Opening track “Appropriate” sets the tone of Nothing Feels Natural with its driving drum beat, minor punk chords and lyrics that touch on the repercussions of colonization. “JJ” has a surf rock vibe, and Greer leaves it all on the line for a complicated love. “Nicki” is dark and dissonant and struggles to let anyone in. “Leila 20” evokes Joy Division with its drawn out vocals, but it ends dreamily. “No Big Bang” is spoken-sung and monotonous in the beginning, but intensifies as Greer sings the chorus, “no birth, no big bang, no big bang…” and a second singing voice and some minor guitar intervals are eventually added. “Interlude” is a brief breath of fresh air, starting with dark, but hopeful strings that never quite manage to come to a resolution.
The standout moment, however, would have to be album title track, “Nothing Feels Natural.” This particular song is composed in indie rock, dream-pop fashion, but sticks to the dark punk roots present throughout the album. The melody is dreamy and catchy, and the vocals come in right off the bat as strong and captivating. It is sure to cause head swaying in some parts, and may lead to head banging as the song intensifies. It’s a stellar track that is hard to grow tiresome of.
“Pink White House” resembles “No Big Bang” in the beginning, but then heads into territories reminiscent of X-Ray Spex’s catchier tracks, minus the saxophone. This track has a political message with lyrics such as, “ooh baby my American Dream,” exposing the greed that tends to surface in that pursuit. In true punk fashion, “Puff” offers screeching guitars and quick-moving bass, accompanied by pounding drums and spoken song. Nothing Feels Natural closes with a lengthier track, “Suck,” which is danceable and lyrical. “Please don’t make me be someone with no sympathy,” Greer pleads in the chorus. The bridge is simple yet stunning with reverb-clicked guitars playing pleasing thirds…and then the saxophone for which we’ve all been waiting suddenly makes an appearance.
There isn’t a single track on Nothing Feels Natural that isn’t captivating in its own way. This is indie rock at its finest—showing appreciation to punk rock’s history and influence while weaving in everything that’s good right now in the indie-rock world, from dream-pop to post-punk.