To label Priests, with its DIY, post-punk origins, as merely political would be to limit its scope, and it’s something the band has been trying to clear up ever since it happened to release its acclaimed full-length debut, “Nothing Feels Natural,” shortly after President Trump’s 2017 inauguration.
“What we always tell people is, like, ‘Please don’t call us a political band. It’s reductive to what we do,’ ” lead vocalist Katie Alice Greer said this year.
Before the group’s newest album, Priests had another frontier to explore when bassist Taylor Mulitz left the band, forcing Greer, guitarist G.L. Jaguar and drummer Daniele Daniele to relearn their relationships with each other and with their sound. New collaborators involved local multi-instrumentalist Janel Leppin, touring bassist Alexandra Tyson and Dallas-based producer John Congleton.
What resulted was not an entirely new sound but a growth of what Priests had already accomplished with knife-sharp vocals, galvanic guitar and lithe drumming, threaded with the spirit of new wave and disco and sealed together with lyrical experimentation.
But while “Nothing Feels Natural” felt more thunderous encased within walls, “The Seduction of Kansas” punches through barriers and resonates in open space.
The blazing night ignited with a controlled burn from D.C. punk outfit Mock Identity, led by the pyrotechnic vocals of lead singer Adriana-Lucia Cotes. Cotes’s voice sliced through the tumble of crashing drums and drilling bass, dropping to forceful growls and leaping to powerful shrieks with precision.
When Priests took the stage, Greer fanned the flames with scorching vocals, smoldering on “Good Time Charlie” and exploding on the album’s title track. Then, Greer hopped behind the drum set as Daniele showed off a magnetic voice on “I’m Clean,” a murderous meditation led by slinky bass and coy guitar.
Though Priests has lost a founding member, it has lost none of its blistering lyrics or cutting instrumentation, with added nectar from Greer’s dulcet but biting vocals.