“Nothing Feels Natural” is surely much more involving and various than Priests’ previous EP “Bodies & Control & Money & Power”, which came to light in early June 2014. This new record slightly detaches from the raw and hysterical punk rock sound that portrayed their last work and it’s the very first full-length for the Washington D.C. based band. The album was produced by Kevin Erickson and comes out via Sister Polygon Records for Dischord Records (Minor Threat, Fugazi) and finally (not without difficulties) released in January.
Still sounding seditious, but with more delicate moments and with an almost sentimental vocal delivery, the power of the songs is undeniable. And even though their 80’s influences are extremely strong, the album flows trying not to imitate too much. It’s a nice surprise, a bit like the little present your auntie wants to gift you with but for your birthday and actually ends up being quite cool in the end. No elevator conversations, no sterile communication. Why? Because there is an extreme urgency of true dialogues, according to Katie Alice Greer, let alone resigned to give up on her fights: women rights, consumerism and authorities.
And it also comes with a pink art cover. Pretty neat.
The album opens with the pretty claustrophobic track “Appropriate”, which seems to be the most suitable to get the listener started. It’s edgy, and has a kind of jazzy punk jams moments, piecewise. It’s quite difficult to be a post punk act in 2017 without sounding too familiar or generic, and these guys seem to know it pretty well. Proof of this is the second track, “JJ”, adorned with deep-sea keyboards. Captivating surf punk made of nice melodies and flavoured with in-your-face lyrics and indrawn moments. The vocal delivery is gorgeous, and soon turns out that if this record is quite good, it’s mostly thanks to this aspect. The vibe you get at her vocal inflexion carries weight in this matter. Katie roars about how identities are moulded by labels “I thought I was a cowboy because I smoked Reds,” and “All the jock frat boys called you a hipster fag And I think you liked it, I think you loved it“. However, there are a few moments throughout the record which can’t help sounding just a little flat, occasionally. “No Big Bang” is definitely one of the best tracks. It reflects the abrasive development of modern society, recalling the kind of rhythmic sections bands like Gang Of Four used to work on: relentless and close on his heels, leaded by a hammering bass guitar.
The title-track works fine, it’s catchy and able to make you dance regardless its extra sweet but melancholic touch. The disenchantment and sadness you can perceive listening to this record is the product of Katie’s depression at the time of the recordings, when they thought that they’d never manage to complete the album she said: ”No, it’s not for anyone and I can’t wait until it’s done“. On the other hand, it is also a great example of the bands views on hot contemporary topics such as politics and consumerism, which are addressed with rage and a bit of sarcasm.
The set of tracks is definitely good and solid for the most part, even though there are some undeniably less memorable moments. The record in itself is definitely worth of a listen, and is highly recommended for all post punk fans.