Posted on June 24th, 2011 (12:00 pm) by Chad Flanders

This is a perfectly acceptable album: kind of folk rock light, with some xylophone thrown in (which works surprisingly well on some songs). The album is marred, initially, by a rookie mistake – putting an amorphous intro track in the album, instead of leading straight off with the best song. It’s almost enough to make one give up on the album. If you’re a new band, especially, you want the strong, sweet stuff at the start, not some meandering mélange of snare drum, random pings, and atmospheric vocals. (Annoyingly, they make the same mistake at the end of the album, which is nonetheless more forgivable.)

But on to the good stuff. Here, the stand out track is “Lady of Late”, with its catchy synth drum beat. I’m inclined to think such drum additions are a bit of a cheat, but here it provides just the right amount of heft to the sometimes strained vocals. When the guitars take center stage, and the synth drums recede just a bit, there’s some real pop magic going on. There’s some inspired production here.
“Kings of Troy” is a worthy companion to “Lady of Late”, although it should come after and not before the high that “Lady” gives. “Kings” mellows out where “Lady” swells. That said, the use of xylophone sounds on “Kings” really is something special.

What to say of the rest of the album? It’s not bad, and repays with repeated listenings, although the vocals can tend to grate sometimes. I almost want to say: if you like Mumford & Sons or the Fleet Foxes (see especially parts of “Cold Hands”), then you might like the Priory. Then again, if you like Mumford and Fleet Foxes, then you should probably just listen to them. There is nothing that says "go out and get this album"; and in the end, there are better things to listen to. But there are some pleasant moments in Priory all the same.

Track List:

1. Worthy Dreams
2. Kings of Troy
3. Lady of Late
4. Alone
5. Coal Mine
6. Searching
7. Devil v. Heater
8. Red Sun
9. Cold Hands
10. Wait
11. White Coats
12. smaerD yhtroW

Priory: Priory
Purchase at: Amazon | eMusic

Our Rating

52 / 100
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