Reverend and the Makers are back with their sixth studio album, and frontman John McClure and co. are not holding back with catchy tunes, strong lyrics and a remarkable familiarity that never once feels unoriginal.
The Death of a King is very much a collaborative work, with the vocals shared throughout the band, and is all the stronger for it. There’s a different flavour to each song, and some surprising style changes between tracks, yet remaining completely cohesive. Boomerang, for example, has a laid back reggae feel that leads straight into the harder rock sound of recent single Too Tough to Die. By complete contrast, the next track (Carlene) has a ragtime piano swagger. Rather than sounding discombobulated, each differing style feels completely organic and surprisingly pleasing on the ear.
The different sounds and styles allow for a few standout tracks. Black Cat evokes feelings of a boozy New Orleans walkway, sweltering in the sun and awash with the waft of some dodgy cigarettes and the instrumental Bang Seray could easily be a recording from a bar in the Thailand town, only produced by David Lynch. Black Flowers, sung by keyboard player (and John’s wife) Laura McClure, starts out as a delicate piece before becoming developing a sultry and smooth rhythm that wouldn’t sound out of place as a Bond theme.
The songs just fly by – mostly under three minutes each, Carlene even hitting a brisk one minute – and as such there’s an argument to be made that there’s not enough time for the tunes to make their mark. As soon as the listener’s getting a handle on it, it’s over.
Reverend and the Makers play the Looe Music Festival on September 29th and 30th, before heading out on tour, taking in Glasgow Garage (October 14th), London Electric Ballroom (October 25th), Sheffield O2 Academy (October 27th), and Manchester Academy (November 4th). Find out more at http://www.reverendmakers.com.
Reverend and the Makers – The Death of a King – album review
Label: Cooking Vinyl. Format: CD, Vinyl, Cassette, Download. Release date: September 22nd, 2017.