Artist: Priory

Produced by: Expunged Records

Reviewed by Melissa Minners

            Priory is an indie-rock/electronic folk quartet based out of Portland, Oregon featuring Brandon Johnson on vocals and bass; Kyle Dieker providing falsetto vocals, acoustic guitar, keyboards, and bells; Rich Preinesberger on drums and Greg Harpel on lead guitar, bells and keyboards.  Following up their 2010 EP release, Cold Hands, Priory will be releasing their self-titled debut album on June 21, 2011 for Expunged Records.

            As I listened to Priory, I was instantly taken in by the music, a blend of acoustic guitars and electronic sound.  In fact, throughout my entire first listen I wondered at the music and paid little attention to anything else.  This band definitely has their musical sound down and if singing doesnít work out for them, a career in musical scoring should definitely be kept in mind.

            Then, I listened to the album again and found more to marvel at.  For one thing, the lyrics on Priory are very deep.  They tackle some very interesting concepts, like drug addiction, love lost, dying love, death and more.  While all of the songs on this album are thought-provoking and catchy, there were three that stood out for me.  In Kings of Troy, a man expresses his love for a woman who is constantly sought after by other suitors.  Vowing to be the one who will keep her safe, warm and happy, he knows he will always be fending off competition for her love.  This song has a lot of hidden meaning in the lyrics, causing you to think about what is being said and what the singer actually is trying to convey.  There is something to be said about a song that makes you think.  In addition, Kings of Troy presents the best example of Prioryís eclectic musical style and their vocals.  I love the way their vocals blend together to produce an enchanting harmony.

            Cold Hands is a song about a couple dying together.  The heartfelt sadness and loyalty beyond death expressed in this song makes me wonder at its inspiration.  What event inspired such a beautifully emotional song to be created?  What story is behind the words jotted down by the lyricist who created this song?  The final song that stood out for me was quite shocking.  Iím not certain how I feel about it, but it evoked such strong emotion that I felt I must write about it in this review.  Coal Mine discusses an individualís self-assessment in what he is certain are his final moments on Earth while trapped inside a coal mine.  Perhaps it is the recent mine disasters that made the song so striking to me.

            It seems that my reaction to Coal Mine is exactly the sort Priory is hoping to evoke.  According to Brandon Johnson, ďI want people that hear our album to feel something.  Some of our subject matter is not all that light and fluffy, not unlike life, but I believe there is always a positive side. There is a glass half full, if we choose to perceive it that way. And, a little nursery rhyme melody can often add a sense of whimsy to a dark subject matter."  Well, the band has certainly achieved that and more.  Priory is something of a sensation on the band circuit in Portland and I believe that the release of this full-length debut album is definitely an event that will put them on the map in the music world at large.


For more about Priory, to listen to their music, view their videos and buy their merchandise, visit


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