ALBUM: Reverend Horton Heat – REV

Release Date: January 21st, 2014
Label: Victory Records


After a five year gap between their last record, ‘Laughin’ & Cryin’ With Reverend Horton Heat’, the rockabilly trio are back in action with ‘REV’ for another dose of psychedelic rock ‘n’ roll. This time around they cover all the bases when it comes to punkabilly and rock ‘n’ roll genres; frenzied guitar solos that could make you sprout a quiff upon listening to it, the rumble of drums that could call a heard of leather jackets form the wilderness, and bass lines that walk all over on the wild side.

The swinging guitar work of the Reverend Jim Heath in tracks such as ‘Never Gonna Stop It’ and ‘Spooky Boots’, to name a few, carries the record and leaves the hips unshaken by the seductive slides and bends. Heath‘s gritty vocals fit perfectly into ‘REV’, the combination of the punk ferocity and the rockabilly tendencies in the instrumentation and the gruff vocals reach a perfect mix. ‘Let Me Teach You How To Eat’, the LP’s lead single, delivers a more punk side to the band’s unique mix of genres. The fiery stabs of guitars and the thunderous rhythm section propel the song at break neck pace.

Throughout the album, the songs switch between being instrumental and with vocals, ‘Victory Lap’ and ‘Zombie Dumb’ both display Reverend Horton Heat‘s ability to compose upbeat and danceable tunes that leave you with a smile on your face. However, the latter verges on the ridiculous with its occasional murmurs of the title at intervals that leave a novelty effect, which could have been left out. On the other hand, it could be evidence that this band don’t take themselves too seriously, which is never a bad thing.

The way Reverend Horton Heat combine the multiple types of music heard on this LP it would seem like it’s off easy. The trio have stretched all the way from straight up rock ‘n’ roll (‘Never Gonna Stop It’), to the darker sounds of new-wave punk (‘Schizoid’) and even a little dabbling into country (‘Hardscrabble Woman’).

For a band that have been going from just under 30 years, ‘REV’ still sounds fresh, especially for a genre that has arguably been and gone from the mainstream ears for quite some time now. The album does occasionally dip in quality with the obvious filler tracks that are wedged between the more ambitious songs, but overall the record runs smoothly and will leave any listener with a new found love of the music that Reverend Horton Heat play.

Written by Ewan MacDonald