Album review: TV Priest – Uppers

An obvious musical influence doesn’t hinder interesting debut from London post-punks TV Priest…

We all have those people in our lives we lose contact with, only to run into them years later and discover that chemistry is undiminished by the passing of time. That’s essentially how TV Priest got together — teen jammers reunited as grown up musicians. And while the story of this London four-piece’s inception may be a little on the unusual side, for a band at least, there’s something more than a little familiar about the sound they make. 

We may as well get this out the way: TV Priest sound like IDLES. A lot like IDLES. It’s an obvious comparison to make, but listening to the brashness of Charlie Drinkwater’s delivery and the simple but surreal poetry of his words it’s undeniable too, right down to the vocalist punctuating his performances with laughs, coughs and groans. Plus, they too have a brutally frank song about the monarchy (previously released single House Of York, not included here).

As is the case with IDLES, these methods capture the attention. The Big Curve and Journal Of A Plague Year benefit from lo-fi, scuzzy production, with the latter resembling Nick Cave in his earlier, punkier years. TV Priest are on sight my shakier ground, however, when it comes to their arrangements, which, the excellent Fathers And Sons and This Island notwithstanding, sometimes descend into noisy squalls that impede drive.

It’s this lack of discipline that makes Uppers intoxicating, though. And while at some points their aversion to easy melody and obvious structure hoists them by their own petard, there’s more than enough strange stuff here to quicken the pulse and capture the heart.

Verdict: 3/5

For Fans Of: IDLES, Nick Cave, Jaye Jayle

Uppers is out now via Sub-Pop.

READ THIS: IDLES won the battle, now they’re ready for the war

Posted on February 10th 2021, 3:53p.m.
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