While their nom de plum gives off the impression (odor?) that High Priests are midnight tokers about to blaze the night away with sweet, slow riffs, Spinning sure sounds like the product of a whiter, more sniff-able contraband product (don’t do drugs, kids). Yes, this trio of Chicagoans do worship at the altar of noise and riffs, but this stirring record features a particularly arresting form of post-hardcore-tinged noise rock. Influences like Karp, The Jesus Lizard, and Hot Snakes come meld together wonderfully (and rather loudly) to create an album that grabs you from the get-go and never loosens its grip. Songs like the opening duo and “More Than You Need” highlight the bold and brash sonic palette that is on full display throughout.
However, while Spinning often sounds like a long-lost AmRep release (with a picture-perfect production and noise to clarity ratio), there are some nice touches that give High Priests a bit of their own personality. Slinky, slithering bass-lines come out to play early on in the record and offer a nice (albeit noisy, naturally) addition to the sludgy riffs. The kit work is also a stand-out, with a punkish emphasis on impact rather than groove. Songs in the middle of the record do tend to blend together, even if there are unique aspects in each individual songs. This is mostly due to a lack of strong vocal hooks aside from a few choice cuts. It doesn’t dampen Spinning‘s enjoyment factor, but it renders an impressive album a bit muted in its full effect.
Aside from that minor misstep, High Priests offer up a winning combination of noise rock and 90s post-hardcore that is occasionally funky, certainly fresh, and emphatically loud and energetic.