Album Review: Priests—’The Seduction of Kansas’

Posted: by The Editor

Washington, D.C.’s Priests have always been on an upward trajectory. Since their inception in 2012, they’ve been putting out political post-punk with a sound influenced by artists from the 90s DC and Olympia, WA scenes (documented in labels such as Dischord and K), and each new release seems to be better than the last. The noisy, lo-fi chaos of their debut, Tape One, was channeled into a progressively more precise yet expansive sound that seemed to reach a peak with 2017’s Nothing Feels Natural. It was killer first record that ranks among the best in modern-day punk, and its far-reaching follow-up, The Seduction of Kansas, is another massive leap forward in Priests’ repertoire.

The album’s lead single, the title track has a dance/electronic influence (hinted at in the previous album’s track, “Suck”) that shows  the band is still altering their sound, delivering their strong, infectious songwriting in a style that gets you moving. They’ve been adamant that they are no longer a “punk” band, and many songs on this album support that assertion. However, there are remnants of their old sound still present on other songs in the album, such as the record’s hard-hitting opener, “Jesus’ Son.” It’s a ferocious, visceral cut that displays the power of Priests’ past punk and present rock aesthetic. 

Other tracks carry such a torch, with “Good Time Church” and “Control Freak” also displaying unrestrained energy. However, with this album, Priests also convey their strength in composing more relaxed songs—though without detracting from the impact of the higher energy tracks. A song such as “Not Perceived” is composed of minimalist percussion along with creeping bass played against dreamy guitar. A highlight is vocalist Katie Alice Greer’s ability to make smooth transitions anywhere from a restrained croon to an impassioned yell, adding urgency to any song Priests perform, slow or fast.

“Carol” is a fantastic blend of all the sounds present on this record, with a fast-paced, dance-influenced drum beat, post-punky guitar and bass, Greer’s smooth vocals, and dreamy keys/synth that illustrate the fantastic versatility of Priests.

Full of many other great tracks, The Seduction of Kansas is yet another step-forward in the sound of one of the finest rock bands of today, and one that is enthusiastically exploring beyond the post-punk genre (making them post-punk in the literal sense of the word). But that doesn’t mean that they can’t kick ass as they do so. 

Disappointing / Average / Good / Great / Phenomenal

David A. Gutierrez | @dagewts

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