Albums

Priest by Priest

I’ve been on a bit of an Electronica / Synth-Pop binge recently, and Priest’s debut L.P, eponymously-titled, fits that habit like a glove.

Priest, formally X priest X, is a pseudonym of singer Madeline Priest and producer David Kazyk. Their songs feel like glorious walls of electronic sound.

I think I’m right in saying that this could be categorized as Dream-Pop – it creates a certain mood and atmosphere with walls of layered synthesizers and other such instruments throughout the album. When I say Dream-Pop, you may start imagining ethereal soundscapes with no real punch. Well get that thought out of your head right now – just get it out.

The beats here are solid. There’s nothing mad going on with the beats – no surprise, off-beat time signatures – but this album is all about the atmosphere it’s creating. These beats give a solid drive for travellingthrough that atmosphere.

Electronic Upbeat Melancholy*

*Term Coined.

The lyrics and singing style feel melancholic, but the layered background and driving beat give the overall sound an upbeat and positive feeling. I’m not of the belief that all music needs to be happy happy joy joy – in fact I love a bit of sad music now and again – this is simply the impression I get when listening to Priest’s album.

Madeline sings kind of softly over the deep electro-geography of the opening song, “The Game”. Not soft as in weak. It’s soft as in using her voice as another layer within the song. With other songs, like “Heartbeats” and “Waiting For The End To Come”, her voice belts out with gusto. It’s nice to hear an artist who can give it some whelly, but only when it’s needed.

Even though I’ve only been listening to this album for about a month or so, it already feels like an old friend. It’s one of my current go-to albums to listen to while I’m coding (building websites).

At home in the 80s

This album feels like it would be at home equally in the 80s as it is now.

In fact one of my favourite songs from the album – “Waiting For The End To Come” – always brings up an image in my mind of two 80s kids dancing at some nondescript disco as the closing credits start on some John Hughes film. Think Molly Ringwald and Jon Cryer from Pretty in Pink.

The end of our sermon

You should now head off and take 40 minutes or so to listen to this modern 80s electro classic. You wont be disappointed. I myself am already looking forward to Priest’s next album. I’m really interested in seeing how the sound will progress with future releases.

Thanks for taking the time to read this review.

Albums

Honeymoon by Lana Del Rey

From the moment I first heard her previous album, “Ultraviolence”, I was hooked. Honeymoon then became my most anticipated album of 2015.

And I was not disappointed.

From the moment the first strings on the title song began, I could feel that this was going to be another unforgettable dive into the cinematic, haunting world of Lana Del Rey’s music. In fact I recommend listening to this album for the first time in total darkness on your own if you can.

This isn’t required, but it really helped me to absorb the music as much as possible.

Melancholy

The melancholy of her previous album is still present but feels more upbeat this time around. You can hear this notably on the album’s first single, “High by the beach”.

Not that melancholy is a bad thing at all – some of my favourite music is just that – what I’m trying to get at is that her unique sound is still there, but she’s taking it into new places.

She’s an artist who isn’t afraid to push her voice to the front and centre – often making her sound vulnerable and alone.

This is demonstrated perfectly in “Terrance Loves You”. This is minimally backed through the opening verses, and builds to a soaring chorus, still managing to stay somehow minimal – just herself, piano and strings.

Well I lost myself when I lost you
But I still got jazz when I’ve got the blues
I lost myself and I lost you too
And I still get trashed, honey, when I hear your tunes

From “Terrance Loves You”, Track 3.

The sound of the album

She often harmonizes with herself backed by minimal, reverbed instruments – pianos and light strings. This helps create that unique world I mentioned earlier: haunting; cinematic. Saying that however there are plenty of uses of light drum beats in this album – often when building to the climax of a song, never just for the sake of having a drum beat.

The melodies throughout this album are gorgeous too. The pan pipe sounding intro to Salvatore is a great, hypnotic example of this, which she replicates vocally for the chorus.

Ah-ah-ah-ah, Ah-ah-ah-ah, Cacciatore.
Ah-ah-ah-ah, Ah-ah-ah-ah, Limousines.
Ah-ah-ah-ah, Ah-ah-ah-ah, Ciao Amore.
Ah-ah-ah-ah, Ah-ah-ah-ah, Soft ice cream.

From “Salvatore”, Track 10.

My favourite song on the album would probably have to be 24. It’s a crowning achievement on a great album, which show’s off something that I’ve been saying for a while – if she wanted to, she could write one hell of a bond song.

In fact Spectre has recently been released – the 24th bond film. Coincidence? Or is this a cheeky wink from Miss Grant? I’d like to think the latter.

In Conclusion

If you’ve never listened to a Lana Del Rey album before, this is as good as any to start with. My personal favourite of hers overall is probably still “Ultraviolence”, but this album also has a couple of my favourite songs of hers.

If you have heard her previous albums and are yet to listen to this one, wait no longer. You wont be disappointed.

What are your favourite songs of Lana’s? Let me know in the comments below.