Riff Review: The Reverend Horton Heat – “REV” (Victory)


REV-the-reverend-horton-heat-smallIn last week’s Riffyou.com interview, Jim “The Reverend” Heath viewed the songs upon REV as “edgier and more moshable” than those featured on 2009’s Laughin’ and Cryin’ with The Reverend Horton Heat. Well, he sure wasn’t bullshitting.

REV, out tomorrow through Victory Records, blazes at the outset with the fast-pluckin’ instrumental “Victory Lap,” before seamlessly transitioning into the punk-rock certified “Smell of Gasoline” and pulsating “Never Gonna Stop It.”

This album’s clean-up hitter, “Zombie Dumb,” is yet another primarily instrumental affair that while more modest in pace than its three predecessors, acts as a splendid transition into the slow-burning, yet beautifully crafted “Spooky Boots,” in which the character longs for his lady’s return.

“Let Me Teach You How to Eat,” the album’s lead single, is an un-shy sex track that has the gull to talk about choking a chicken and marinating the meat, while “Schizoid” paints the picture of a fella a little too shy and nervous for his own good.

Evident immediately when dropping into this album from the top is the sense of urgency in which the band is not just playing with, but conquering – they want you to dance, drink, rock, and repeat. For a man now into his 50s and active on the rock n’ roll circus for almost 30 years, Heath’s voice sounds as healthy and whole as that of a man in his 20s. His enthusiasm behind the mic translates in a similar fashion.

Perhaps the band’s brand new affiliation with Victory has a lot to do with this. Being a label associated with a plentiful number of metal and hardcore acts, it can be speculated that Heath and the fellas wanted to keep up.

However, it’s also just possible that Heath knows his bread and butter, and that’s racing rockabilly with surf, punk and blues influence.

Either way, with REV the trio has kicked off 2014 with a good ole fashion 13-track ass-kickin’.

This album is: Riff Respected

-Adam Grant