By Jon Milton
I can’t think of a single person who hasn’t been profoundly affected by the seismic change brought on by the pandemic. Many like to think that the world is back to normal now, but it seems clear to me that chronic fatigue and mental health issues continue to live with us, stopping us from even doing things that we like to do for fun.
TV Priest’s second album ‘My Other People’ lays bare singer Charlie Drinkwater’s experiences during the pandemic, a period in which he confesses he was in ‘a place where I was not, I would say, particularly well’. The band had played once before lockdown began but were unable to move onto their second gig at Oslo in Hackney until July of last year. In between they’d managed to catch a lot of people’s attention with their first two singles ‘House of York’ and ‘Runner Up’, sign to Sub Pop and release their debut album, ‘Uppers’, but had to live this life changing experience as though they were detached bystanders. ‘It was a real gratification and really cathartic, but on the other hand, it was really strange, and not great for my mental health”
Photo: Hollie Fernando
The band describe My Other People as very much a reaction against the politically aware, angry, and bolshy post-punk pigeon-hole that they were being put in. Instead, the band have expanded their musical canvass impressively on this record, with Drinkwater’s lyrics exploring vulnerability and emotion ahead of polemic. As if to make that change in direction very clear, the first three singles from the album each showcase different sides of the band’s music, with the fourth release ‘It Was Beautiful’ the first to tread the frentic, motorik driven, more familiar ground of Uppers.
The starkest departure comes in the shape of ‘Limehouse Cut’, which considers whether one can really feel part of a constantly changing environment like London. There’s an almost Tom Waits like wistfulness about the song and on the bands numerous, detailed social media posts leading up to this release, Drinkwater notes that he has since moved out of London to a more rural setting. I can’t help wondering if that narrative may be influenced by parenthood, where responsibility for a new life becomes all-consuming so and when you finally come up for air, you find that the world around you has changed.
Songs like ‘One Easy Thing’, ‘I Have Learnt Nothing’ and ‘I Am Safe Here’ stand proud and ebullient in among the crowd pleasing ‘It Was Beautiful’ and ‘Unravelling’. The album's reflective moments surface on ‘The Happiest Place on Earth’ and ‘Sunland’ and the aforementioned Limehouse Cut. The highlight of the album however is ‘The Breakers’, a paean to reaffirming friendship, that features a sublime guitar riff which perfectly complements the songs' optimistic theme .
TV Priest’s second album represents a big step forward for the band. Where Uppers felt like a collection of songs, My Other People feels like a proper album, and one that will go down as a ‘flash of greatness’ from the band for years to come.
In what’s likely to be crowded space this year, My Other People will undoubtedly be up there as one of the albums of 2022.
My Other People is released in 17th June. The album is available to pre-order direct from Sub Pop and also on limited edition transparent violet LP direct from Record Store HERE.
There is also a limited signed edition, each including an artwork print designed by the band's own Charlie Drinkwater, available from Rough Trade HERE or as part of an accompanying instore performance for the album's release day.
UK Tour Dates:
30 - Bristol, UK - The Louisiana
31 - Birmingham, UK - Hare & Hounds
1 - Dublin, IE - The Workman's Cellar
3 - Manchester, UK - Yes (Pink Room)
4 - Glasgow, UK - Broadcast
5 - Leeds, UK - Belgrave Music Hall
7 - Cambridge, UK - Portland Arms
8 - Leicester, UK - Firebug Bar
10 - London, UK - Scala
11 - Reading, UK -The Face Bar
12 - Southampton, UK - The Joiners
13 - Brighton, UK - Green Door Store