Rev Up Your Engines
With the first release in almost five years, Reverend Horton Heat (aka Jim Heath and band) are back with their latest release simply titled Rev. All of the aspects of psychobilly, country, surf and punk are prevalent in true Reverend fashion, bridging the gap with their older work.
Paying homage to the early rhythm and blues threeman group (lead guitar and vocals, bass and drums) that was made popular in the ’50s (by the likes of Eddie Cochran, Carl Perkins and Bill Haley) and continued popularly by The Stray Cats, the Reverend and his band have always pleased crowds. But the Heat has also been so much more, marrying this classic sound with tongue-in-cheek songs, heavy distortion and a punkish energy and sensibility.
Likewise, the Reverend’s high energy fun infuses the entire release with humorous and forgettable lyrics that seek to allow the energy and style of the guitar to not be interrupted. Indeed, the entire album could be labeled as an instrumental guitar exercise with smart licks and interesting, perfectly in-style solos, occasionally interrupted with vocals. Indeed, the initial track “Victory Lap” has no lyrics and the similarly arranged “Zombie Dumb” has very little to say lyrically. When the Reverend does tell a story, it is in very simple lyrics and melody, as on “Spooky Boots” and “Mad Mad Heart.”
But that’s really the point. Rev and the band’s earlier work have always been about energy and live performance, which is really where this music shines. It’s no surprise that his music has been featured often on skating and other high-energy video games-– the music is a natural companion to high energy activity, including raging mosh pits. Some of this energy is lost in the recorded medium. So let’s all make plans to see the Reverend Horton Heat play live soon, or turn this album up so loud that you and your neighbors think the band is in your house, anyway. Rage on.