The zeitgeist of the ’90s riot grrrl scene has come to life in present-day to the delight of new and aging riot grrrls alike. In true DIY fashion, Priests – not to be confused with The Priests, a group of actual Catholic priests who record religious classical music – have issued their previous releases via cassette tape and 7″ on the band’s own Sister Polygon Records. This release, their fourth overall and first for Don Giovanni Records, was recorded in legendary DC punk producer Don Zientara’s (Minor Threat, Fugazi, Jawbox) Inner Ear Studios. Already, Priests have come onto the scene with oodles of punk credentials.
The songs here are of the surf-y, garage-y punk (with a healthy dose of noise) variety that was widely popular in the Northwest and DC scenes of the 90s. Bodies and Control and Money and Power sounded so very familiar and yet I struggled to compare them to other bands. I can tell you I was reminded at times of a noisier Slant 6 (“Design Within Reach”) or Taking the Rough with the Smooch-era Huggy Bear (“Doctor”) but then Priests have a way of recalling several different bands while not actually sounding like any of them.
You can hardly mention a female-fronted punk group these days without mentioning Kathleen Hanna, though I can really only use this as a starting point, as singer Katie Alice Greer is maybe a bit more subdued with her vocals. Still, I was often reminded of Hanna or White Lung’s Mish Way (though only on White Lung’s first record), both of whom share Katie’s penchant for singing in different “voices” – as if taking on the role of different characters within single songs – something I particularly enjoy and appreciate from any vocalist.
Fantastic release and yet another band that has me excited about punk again. With a running time of only 17 minutes, I was left wanting more, but that can be (and was) easily remedied with two or three repeat listens. I’m already looking forward to their next record. [Krystle Miller]