- 18 Feb 21
New-punks-on-the-block hold a mirror up to the end times.
Punk has been around for nearly 50 years. But so limited are attention spans in 2021, any new band with growled vocals and thunking guitars runs an immediate risk of being likened – usually un-flatteringly – to Idles. TV Priest have had that, which is a shame, as the Londoners bring a depth-charge lairiness that goes off like a blend of ‘Losing My Edge’-era LCD Soundsystem and Suicide in deepest, darkest 1977.
Not that they’re living in the past. ‘Press Gang’ takes aim at Britain’s right-wing press and its disastrous influence upon UK democracy. A Krautrock urgency meanwhile underpins ‘Journal Of A Plague Year’, with lyrics that strike a chord for reasons that hardly require elaborating upon.
The band’s secret weapon is frontman Charlie Drinkwater, who comes off like a cross between Nick Cave circa the Birthday Party and Sisters of Mercy’s Andrew Eldritch (with the slurring ghost of Mark E Smith clanking chains in the background).
If there is a contemporary group with whom TV Priest share DNA it isn’t Idles but fellow Londoners Shame. However, Uppers marks TV Priest as the more contemplative band. The world is in a bad place, Britain arguably even more so than many other countries. And, in speaking truth to power, TV Priest find a way to both honour punk’s well-worn tropes while making music that feels thrillingly, terrifyingly located in the present day.
Listen to the album below.