LA Priest– also known as Samuel Eastgate – is one of the newer artists on the electro scene, making his debut album, Inji, a display of the potential within this young musician. Although he started the solo project of LA Priest several years ago, it seems that his audience has only recently started to grow into a larger fanbase, thirsty for more of his smooth synth creations. With its release at the end of June, Inji brought a taster of another wave of this genre, showing the artist’s imagination and ability to step away from his musical influences, thus crafting something completely original.
The album begins with ‘Occasion’ which sets the tone for each of the following nine tracks, using a slow beat to ease the listener in and laying a tranquil foundation for some of the more up-tempo songs such as ‘Party Zute/Learning to Love’ and ‘Oino’ which come later in the record. Both of these pre-released tracks are fan favourites because of how they exude joyful restlessness and give the album an overall feeling of being one big party. ‘Oino’- possibly the most well-known and well-loved track of Inji – earns praise through the intensely groovy and innovative electro beats, as well as the memorable, anthemic lyrics.
Another track that stands out is ‘Night Train’. Although slow-moving, it seems impossible to resist wiggling your shoulders along to the repetitive lyrics in some kind of trance. Down-tempo songs like this one are somewhat an acquired taste, but after a few listens they are just as exciting as the rest of the album, since one begins to tune into LA Priest’s ingenious combination of layered sound and voice. In all, it is this which makes Inji so impressive: as a solo artist, Eastgate manages to produce something normally created by more than one person.
Of course, the album is not completely perfect, in that one or two of the tracks can seem a little laboured during the first listen. For example, the third track, ‘Gene Washes With New Arm’- despite its intriguing title – appears to be slightly slow and doesn’t live up to the brilliance of the other tracks. Although the tune improves with each repeat, it takes a little time to adjust to. Nevertheless, the ten tracks of Inji are left in a state of completion with the final song, ‘Mountain’. In comparison, this track seems much more heartfelt with the lyrics “Was I born to love you?/ Was I born to be with you?” giving a sense of LA Priest’s romantic lyrical side. In this way, the track leaves the listener with a warm and comforting end to an otherwise frantic album.
Inji has been awaited since the release of LA Priest’s first official song, ‘Engine’ (which doesn’t appear on the album) and entirely lives up to its audience’s expectations. With many festivals ahead this summer for the artist, tracks both new and old are perfect for this time of year; each and every song is dripping with sunshine and freedom. With much more potential, it seems that LA Priest will go beyond Inji and continue to make equally stunning electronic music in the future.
Words by Eleanor Bateman