Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Review of Priory's "Need to Know"

I posted this review yesterday on the Sputnik Music site.

I first caught Priory about two years ago, opening for Halsey and The Kooks. I wasn't impressed with Halsey at all, but I liked these guys right away. I bought this album last year, and it was one of my favorite albums of 2015. Strangely enough, even though I saw them live and played the album repeatedly for a year, it wasn't until last month when I set up a band page for them on the Sputnik Music site and looked up their bio that I realized they weren't British. They seem British somehow. But they're actually a 2-member electropop group from Portland, Oregon made up of Brandon Rush and Kyle Sears, although when they play live shows, they use a full band. Their sound falls somewhere between Twenty One Pilots (minus the hip hop), Passion Pit and Kaiser Chiefs. Need to Know is their second full-length album -- they also released a self-titled album in 2011.

The single from the album, "Weekend", reached #15 in the U.S. on the Billboard Alternative songs chart, and #30 on the Rock chart. It also charted in Australia. It's kind of a slow, slightly dreamy song about how we all come to life on the weekend, safely out from under the thumbs of our day jobs. There's no profound message here, but the song works nicely on its own terms. For me personally, I've got to love a song where the lyrics make casual use of the word "proletariat" (as in "This right here is the deal, proletariat.") And although it's technically outside the scope of reviewing the album, "Weekend" also has a nifty little official video that takes place in a rollerskating rink.

Need to Know is a fairly lean album. There are only 10 tracks here, but in this case, less is more, as all of the songs are pretty good. Most are in the slow-to-mid-tempo range -- this is more of a cerebral band than one that looks to rock out. Several songs are quiet and elegant, such as "Lost Gold", a simple number about a couple running off together to look for better life, and "Mother Mary", a song whose aged and tired protagonist just looks to lay down his burdens and find some peace.

Even a song like "Put 'Em Up", where the singer is willing to fight you if you can't accept that "boys will be boys who like boys who dress like girls, and that's alright" and "girls will be girls who like girls who dress like boys and start a fight", has a fairly leisurely pace. Probably the most upbeat song tempo-wise is "New Thing", where the singer explains that "Kids gonna do what those kids gonna do", so just accept it.

Odds are that if you enjoy bands like Foster the People, Kaiser Chiefs, Passion Pit and The Kooks, you'll enjoy Need to Know.

Rating: 4/5 stars