Words: James Frostick
Cover art: Franzi Datz

Ahead of the September release of their debut LP Love or Labour, Melbourne/Naarm garage-noir three-piece Gluten Priest are today dropping a couple of morsels to build appetite in anticipation of the main course. These two tasters oscillate between wired skulk and slippery downhill tumble, both tethered to each other by a shared energetic backbone.

I imagine being in a band is a labour of love. There’s piss-all money in it, so there’d have to be some sort of passion-based fuel source powering the creative energy. I’m not going to project anything on Gluten Priest based on the name of their forthcoming LP, but the phrase Love or Labour stirs up some musings about what makes it the act of creating worth it (incidentally, the same thought process can be applied to blogging). The trio has hammered together a collection of a rip-snorters for their debut LP, drawing upon material composed since debuting in 2018 (the band paused a couple of times to drop a four-track digital EP and a 7″ vinyl EP along the way). The band sits in a little sonic niche somewhere near the strung-out gothic strine of Big Bill and the Bigots, but riled up on bathtub hooch. Gluten Priest swings from dusty country blues to psychoactive freak-outs, the pendulum never resting at either apex. If you want to know what I mean, just lend your ear to the band’s first to samples from Love or Labour – ‘The Event’ and ‘Dunno Still’.

‘The Event’ kicks off with a bluesy slink – wiry guitars and a slick bass pluck gel until the burners are turned on and the mix starts to bubble over. On the flip side, ‘Dunno Still’ bolts out of the gate at a feverish pace from the get go – a rapid gallop that feels like it’s going to trip and topple head over feet at any second. Gluten Priest take aim at the media on ‘The Event’, laying bare the industry’s fixation on being first to print rather than adhering to accuracy, and the sacrifice of integrity that goes with it. On ‘Dunno Still’, the band refers to the old Socratic paradox “I know that I know nothing”, a timely reminder for us living in this current age to admit when we’re uneducated on a matter, rather than blindly trying to force home an opinion formed out of ignorance, hate and fear. Music is always a worthwhile labour and these tracks are far from a laborious listen – it’s good stuff! Listen here:

Gluten Priest will be donating 100% of proceeds from single sales to Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service Co-Operative Ltd. Love or Labour will be out in September.