LA Priest isn’t the first musical project that Sam Dust, a.k.a. Samuel Eastgate, has taken part in. Dust was originally a member of Late of the Pier, a British dance-punk band that disbanded back in 2010 a few years after releasing their only album. Inji acts as Dust’s debut album under the LA Priest moniker. Rather than following the dance-punk sound of Late of the Pier, Inji instead takes a different direction sonically. And while you can’t deny that the album certainly carries its own identity, the songs on the end result are somewhat varied quality-wise.
Inji sits in the area of synth-pop when it comes to genre, but with a distinct lean towards a more retro, 80s style sound. Songs vary from funky to psychedelic to disco, covering a variety of styles but with a focused sound that ties them together. The album starts off well with Occasion, opening with nothing but a few bass notes before introducing drums, keyboards and guitar. The slow beat of the drums combined with the prominent base works well with Dust’s vocals, whose erratic nature meshes with the guitar use in this song in particular. The follow-up song Lady’s In Trouble With The Law sounds similar to the first track musically, but picks the pace up and adds in an especially strong hook in the chorus to make for something more exciting. These are two of the strongest songs on the album, making them perfect choices for the two starting tracks.
The strongest song on the album comes with Party Zute / Learning To Love, which features an extended opening with chopped and sampled instruments before leading into an upbeat track full of Dust’s similar chopped and sampled vocals and distorted singing over the chorus. Even with the catchy instrumental, it’s Dust’s own repetition of the main lyric—It’ll be just like learning to love all over again—that really sells the song.
The album’s lower points, however, tend to be the instrumental tracks. Gene Washes With New Arm is the main offender here, being a two and a half minute song focusing mostly on a minimal psychedelic synth arrangement and never really goes anywhere before it’s over. When it comes to the vocal tracks, A Good Sign stands out as the weakest link, with its use of piercing laser-like keyboards and loud extended synths being more of an annoyance than anything else.
As a whole, Inji is a mixed bag of an album. The first half is especially strong, with Party Zute / Learning To Love closing this section perfectly. It’s after this point that the album starts to take a downward turn, offering weaker songs that don’t really match the quality of the earlier ones. This can make it hard to listen to as a full album. Despite this, the strong points on Inji are definitely worth paying attention to, and it serves as a decent debut album for the LA Priest project.