The four male band members of TV Priest looking at the camera
Credit: Hollie Fernando

TV Priest – My Other People (Sub Pop Records)

There is an inevitability that the impact of the global pandemic will continue to seep into creativity.  TV Priest release their second album My Other People on 17 June via Sub Pop Records.  Where their debut album Uppers was influenced by a pre-Covid world, both in terms of broader society and closer community, My Other People is much more personal, full of introspection and brutal honesty.   Using ‘Saintless‘ (the closing song from Uppers) as a starting point, vocalist and lyricist Charlie Drinkwater used his creativity to communicate with his bandmates about his depleting mental health during lockdown.  Uppers had been well received but with the opportunity to play it live withdrawn, the success felt divorced from reality and that took its toil.  Thus the creation of My Other People was a vehicle to process a tumultuous period.

Drinkwater further explains:
“Speaking very candidly, it was written at a time and a place where I was not, I would say, particularly well. There was a lot of things that had happened to myself and my family that were quite troubling moments.  I apologised to the band the other day for not being a great friend or person in this process, because I simply was not happy.  Despite that I do think the record has our most hopeful moments too; a lot of me trying to set myself reminders for living, just everyday sentiments to try and get myself out of the space I was in.  Whether or not the sincerity is understood, I think I’ll always be proud of that.”

Opener ‘One Easy Thing’ begins with a slow plucking guitar and a weary sounding vocal.  From this first track TV Priest show that they’re not afraid to highlight the importance and yet struggles in dealing with issues including anxiety, pressure and the demons that can get into our heads.  The lyrics “I need to sleep, so very very deeply” are sung slowly and repeated as if crying out for rest, calm and peace.  The video is an emotional watch as Drinkwater plays a 15th century knight enacting an outpouring of relief at being home yet combined with dance performed between periods of exhaustion.

‘Bury Me In My Shoes’ is a fuzzy chaotic track dominated by Drinkwater’s strong impassioned vocal.  Buzzsaw guitar slashes through the chorus over a constant rattle of the bass and the beat of the drums.  It was written as a response to that general feeling of unease and creeping dread.  “Life only comes in flashes of greatness”, and the track finishes on a glorious orchestral end.  TV Priest have the ability to surprise with their soundscapes.  The pace and ambience can quickly shift within a track and they are not afraid to challenge the listener.

On ‘Limehouse Cut’, the mood is more sombre and measured. Thoughtful and considered, the plucking guitar chords at the forefront of the sonics have a mesmeric rhythm which is almost hypnotic in its delivery. The vocal is gentler with Drinkwater showcasing his versatility. The quiet chord sequence at the end drifts away, like the receding tide.

‘I Have Learnt Nothing‘ is a bigger expansive sound with industrial static-fuelled guitars and open, honest lyrics.  This is followed by current single ‘It Was Beautiful’  – a love song about the past, present and future.  Scuzzy guitars full of reverb accompany the vocals.  The emotion here is undeniable especially at the mid-track break and the chaotic experimental backdrop of the soundscape only add to the power of this track.

A sharp change of atmosphere as ‘The Happiest Place On Earth’ is stripped back dominated by a beautiful guitar and vocal which is drawn out towards the end and includes a stifled giggle, a sign perhaps of joy and hope.  Title track ‘My Other People’ pulls us back with the beating drum, bass and reverbing guitar.  Indeed the guitars and drums dominate and the vocal is pushed back perfectly using layering to illustrate “these people, they’ve really held me down”.

‘The Breakers’ speaks of optimism, and the importance of friends, of people who love us, listen to us and stand by us even in the toughest of times.
“I got friends, I got friends, good friends,
They said you’ll find it in the small things”

A gentle piano playing in the distance opens ‘Unravelling’ before charging straight into the electricity of the guitar and thumping drums.  Confusion and chaos ensue with that wild static punctuating the lyrics, which are personal, introspective and sincere: “it was just me at the centre of this little explosion”.  The track closes out calmly with a return to the piano playing in the distance, as if that serenity is the what is being searched for.  The contrast is poignant.

‘It Was A Gift’ is a joyous celebration of a track.  Beginning slowly it quickly picks up the pace, canters along and those thunderous drums provide the backbone before we move into ‘I Am Safe Here’.   In times of uncertainty and anxiety finding a safe place is important, and it can be with a person, not just in the physical sense:  “I am safe here, as long as I am with you”.  This track has perhaps my favourite lyric on the album:
“when you open your mouth all your heroes jump out”

And so to final track ‘Sunland’.  With its background chatter ‘Sunland’ is perhaps internal thoughts.  It’s forward looking, of what’s ahead, of the future.  Yes issues will exist but a calmness has descended.  We are on this planet for our one life so let’s embrace the challenges.

My Other People was produced by bassist and keyboard player Nic Bueth and alongwith Drinkwater, Alex Sprogis on guitar and Ed Kelland on drums the 4-piece have created a thing of beauty.  It’s 13 tracks are full of depth and compassion, of candour and honesty, of varying atmospheres and cadence.  Measured and thoughtful in comparison to the chaotic soundscapes throughout its predecessor, My Other People is a celebration of life and love.

TV Priest’s second album My Other People is set for release on 17 June via Sub Pop Records.
For more information on the band please check out their facebook.

TV Priest will tour extensively across the UK, Europe and the USA in the coming months.
Please see here and below for further details:
Fri. June 17 – London, UK – Rough Trade East
Mon. June 20 – Brighton, UK – Resident*
Tue. June 21 – Southsea Portsmouth, UK – Pie & Vinyl*
Wed. June 22 – Totnes, UK – Drift*
Thu. June 23 – Leeds, UK – The Vinyl Whistle*
Sun. July 03 – Hyeres, FR – Pointu Festival
Fri. July 22 – Suffolk, UK – Latitude Festival
Sun. July 24 – Sienna, IT – TVSpenta Festival
Tue. July26 – Brooklyn, NY – Union Pool
Wed. July 27 – Philadelphia, PA – PhilaMOCA
Fri. July 29 – Montréal, QC – Bar le Ritz PDB
Sat. July 30 – Toronto, ON – Monarch Tavern
Sun. July 31 – Chicago, IL – Beat Kitchen
Thu. Aug. 04 – Happy Valley, OR – Pickathon
Fri. Aug. 05 – Happy Valley, OR – Pickathon
Sat. Aug. 06 – Vancouver, BC – Fox Cabaret
Sun. Aug. 07 – Seattle, WA – Clock-Out Lounge
Fri. Sep. 03 – Salisbury, UK – End of the Road Festival
Fri. Sep. 09 – Heusden, NL – Misty Fields Festival
Sat. Sep. 17 – Leicester, UK – Wide Eyed Festival
Mon. Oct. 24 – Nijmegen, NL – Merleyn
Tue. Oct. 25 – Groningen, NL – Vera
Tue. Oct. 26 – Rotterdam, NL – Rotown
Fri. Oct. 28 – Amsterdam, NL – London Calling Festival
Sun. Oct. 30 – Bristol, UK – The Louisiana
Mon. Oct. 31 – Birmingham, UK – Hare & Hounds
Tue. Nov. 01 – Dublin, IE – The Workman’s Cellar
Thu. Nov. 03 – Manchester, UK – Yes (Pink Room)
Fri. Nov. 04 – Glasgow, UK – Broadcast
Sat. Nov. 05 – Leeds, UK – Belgrave Music Hall
Mon. Nov. 07 – Cambridge, UK  – Portland Arms
Tue. Nov. 08 – Leicester, UK – Firebug Bar
Thu. Nov. 10 – London, UK – Scala
Fri. Nov. 11 – Reading, UK -The Face Bar
Sat. Nov. 12 – Southampton, UK – The Joiners
Sun. Nov. 13 – Brighton, UK – Green Door Store
Tue. Nov. 15 – Paris, FR – TBC
Wed. Nov. 16 – Le Havre, FR – Le Tetris
Fri. Nov. 18 – Nantes, FR – Stereolux
Sat. Nov. 19 – Lille, FR – L’Aeronef
Sun. Nov. 20 – Brussels, BE – Botanique
Tue. Nov. 22 – Zurich, CH – Bogen F
Thu. Nov. 24 – Berlin, DE – Privatvclub
Fri. Nov. 25 – Cologne, DE – Artheater
* Stripped down performances

TV Priest – My Other People (Sub Pop Records)
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God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.