Without a brutal evaluation of their own becoming, TV Priest might have never made their second album. Heralded as the next big thing in post-punk, they were established as a bolshy, sharp-witted outfit, the kind that starts movements with their political ire. There was of course truth in that, but it was a suit that quickly felt heavy on it’s wearer’s shoulders, leaving little room for true vulnerability. “A lot of it did feel like I was being really careful and a bit at arm’s length,” says vocalist Charlie Drinkwater. “I think maybe I was not fully aware of the role I was taking. I had to take a step back and realize that what we were presenting was quite far away from the opinion of myself that I had. Now, I just want to be honest. ”
Having made music together since their teenage years, the London four-piece piqued press attention in late 2019 with their first gig as a newly solidified group, a raucous outing in the warehouse district of Hackney Wick. Debut single “House of York” followed with a blistering critique of monarchist patriotism, and they were signed to Sub Pop for their debut album. When Uppers arrived in the height of a global pandemic, it reaped praise from critics and fans alike for it’s “dystopian doublespeak,” but the band – Drinkwater, guitarist Alex Sprogis, producer, bass and keys player Nic Bueth and drummer Ed Kelland – were at home like the rest of us, drinking cups of tea and marking time via government-sanctioned daily exercise. As such, the personal and professional landmark of it’s release felt “both colossal and minuscule” dampened by the inability to share it live. “It was a real gratification and really cathartic, but on the other hand, it was really strange, and not great for my mental health” admits Drinkwater. “I wasn’t prepared, and I hadn’t necessarily expected it to reach as many people as it did. ” As such, My Other People maintains a strong sense of earth-rooted emotion, taking advantage of the opportunity to physically connect. Using “Saintless” (the closing song from Uppers) as something of a starting point, Drinkwater set about crafting lyrics that allowed him to articulate a deeper sense of personal truth, using music as a vessel to communicate with his bandmates about his depleting mental health. “Speaking very candidly, it was written at a time and a place where I was not, I would say, particularly well,” he says. “There was a lot of things that had happened to myself and my family that were quite troubling moments. 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. ” “It was a bit of a moment for all of us where we realised that we can make something that, to us at least, feels truly beautiful,” agrees Bueth. “Brutality and frustration are only a part of that puzzle, and despite a lot of us feeling quite disconnected at the time, overwhelmingly beautiful things were also still happening. ” This tension between existential fear born from the constant uncertainties of life, and an affirmative, cathartic urge to seize the moment, is central to My Other People, a record that heals by providing space for recognition, a ground zero in which you’re welcome to stay awhile but which ultimately only leads up and out. For TV Priest, it is a follow-up that feels truly, properly them; free of bravado, unnecessary bluster or any audience pressure to commit solely to their original sound.