And from Orlando come forth PRIEST, the slinky synthesized project of vocalist / keyboardist Madeline Priest and producer / guitarist David Kazyk. Forming in 2013, they soon developed a gorgeous Scandipop influenced sound.
A synth duo with an understated but seductive musical elegance, the dreamy ‘Samurai’ title track from their 2014 debut EP featured some superb bassline sequencing from Kazyk that was almost funky as it syncopated alongside the precise, but lively synthetic rhythm. And when Madeline Priest cooed “you’re the only one” over the chilling synth, it was wonderful honey coated bliss that recalled the best of Canadian contemporaries ELECTRIC YOUTH.
‘Isn’t It So?’ was just as good with its vibey tones complimenting a pulsating backbone. Despite the presence of electronically treated voices, the aural futurism was countered by some muted guitar to provide a pinch of organic seasoning.
In an air of gloom, the midtempo ‘Enemy Mind’ featured a wispily enticing chorus reminiscent of Scandipodean twins SAY LOU LOU. Meanwhile with a sweeping, almost pentatonic feel, ‘Sophie K’ oozed a widescreen demeanour as a plea of “don’t lose your way” took hold. With Madeline Priest’s background in ballet, the parallel ethos of interpretation allowed for an honest delivery of PRIEST’s quietly sedate but sensitive output.
With their debut album soon to be unleashed, the pair have now released ‘The Game’ as a trailer. Developing on the shimmering sonics of ‘Samurai’ and with more six string texturing added too, Madeline Priest is wholly provocative, especially when she tells the subject of her affections that “if that’s not enough… we’ll always have tonight”; PRIEST most certainly have an alluring front woman.
CHVRCHES, PURITY RING and GRIMES have been the acts that other commentators have been quoting as references to PRIEST’s sleek sound… perhaps less leftfield than those, PRIEST are following a new line of great North American female fronted synthpop acts that also include NIGHT CLUB and ELEVEN: ELEVEN.
But overall, maybe think MARSHEAUX, FEATHERS and KID MOXIE… no, Madeline Priest is not Greek, but there is that sunnier disposition over an essentially Nordic styled melancholy which stops things from getting too frosty. There is warmth amongst all that emotional resignation, something that the title of so far unreleased track ‘Dark Sun’ appropriately captures.
‘The Game’ is released as a download single by Emotion, ‘Samurai’ is still available as a download EP while PRIEST’s debut album is set for release in May 2015
Text by Chi Ming Lai
Photos by Jennifer Medina
4th March 2015