For those of you unfamiliar with the good works of the Reverend Horton Heat, a.k.a. Jim Heath and his musical friends, they have been blasting out souped-up, punk infused rockabilly for about 30 years now. If Lemmy (a big fan) had been born in Texas I guess there’s a chance that he would be making the same sort of music. It’s a blend of Elvis, Hank Williams, Carl Perkins, Dick Dale and The Cramps. It is American music to its core and it is rock n’ roll distilled to its purest form. This is the world of quiffs, upright bass, primary colours and an unshakeable knowledge that their lifestyle is the only one worth living. They know cool. They are cool.
”REV” is the bands first release since signing to Victory Records, home to such hard rock luminaries as Ill Nino, A Day To Remember and Tapout, and it signals a shift back to the rockier end of the bands sound. To celebrate this union the album opens with ‘Victory Lap’, a rollicking Dick Dale-esque instrumental to set the dragster in your heart racing. It very much sets the pace for the whole album, which is breathless and break-neck, every song crammed with furiously picked riffs, big surf guitar solos, thumping bass and skull cracking drums.
There isn’t an ounce of fat on this whole juicy steak of an album, but my current favourite morsels all come in a row – the Tiki-masked voodoo stomp of ‘Zombie Dumb’, the suave and smart ‘Spooky Boots’, the Ramones/Stooges mash-up of ‘Schizoid’ and the epic ‘Scenery Going By’. That last track in particular showcases the awesome musicianship of this trio – the drumming of Scott Churilla in particular is impressive, colouring the song with real invention and flair.
As accomplished as Reverend Horton Heat are they never take themselves too seriously and the more red-blooded amongst you will enjoy the risqué food porn of single ‘Let Me Teach You How To Eat’ and its accompanying video crammed with prime American cheesecake displaying their errr…. culinary skills.
The country influence finally comes to the fore on ‘Hard Scrabble Woman’ towards the end the album, a boom-chikka-boom Johnny Cash-style tale of one mean lady you don’t want to mess with. ‘Chasing Rainbows’ comes in last and reaffirms the bands desire to bring the ROCK to rock n’ roll and is a virtual thrash to the finish line. You’ll want to go right back to the starting line.
This is righteous stuff and I’m sure if Lemmy is listening it will be an inspiration and a tonic.