Reverend Horton Heat - REV

Reverend Horton Heat REV cover
Reverend Horton Heat
Victory Records
Critically acclaimed as well as an underground favourite, Revered Horton Heat have been mixing surf, country, punk, big band and rockabilly since 1985. “REV” is the band’s (I’ve always considered The Revered Horton Heat a band as opposed to just one dude) first release with Victory records and, according to them, they couldn’t be happier about this collaboration. This album is Revered Horton Heat at their best, their most rocking album since “Spend a Night in the Box” (2000). Like Lemmy from Motörhead said: ”Reverend Horton Heat, he’s great and plays the music he believes in and nothing else. Go see him or I’ll kill you!”…
I was pleasantly surprised by the first part of “REV”. The record kicks off with Victory Lap (I’m guessing the title has something to do with them signing with Victory records), a sizzling hot surf instrumental number which serves both as an intro to the record as well as an extended intro to track #2, Smell of Gasoline. Then we have Never Gonna Stop It, equally fast and powerful but in a more rockabilly mode; Never Gonna Stop It made me feel certain that Revered Horton Heat means business. The third track is Zombie Dumb, a clear-cut, fun-loving surf jam that I could listen to on repeat.
After that we are taken back to the rockabilly sound, where we stay for the next three songs in a raw. “Spooky Boots”, “Schizoid” and “Scenery Going By” are all pretty tight rocking songs, but if I want to be totally honest, there’s something missing. I mean, they didn’t make me bounce my head and sing along in the same way the first four did. Revered Horton Heat set the bar so high that just plain good tracks didn’t reach it; I was expecting greatness.
The good thing is that “My Hat” comes right after. With a lively swing groove, this track pulls the listener right back in and almost forces him/her to dance to the beat. As for “Let Me Teach You How to Eat”, it’s without a doubt one of my favourite songs in the entire album. Fast, jumping, groovy and melodic while at the same time quite aggressive; it hits all the right chords.
Time to switch back to a more swing gear. “Mad Mad Heart” features the “swingiest” guitar work in “REV”. Then the band moves to a kind of fast country rock vibe with the short and sweet “Longest Gonest Man”. Second to last on the tracklist is “Hardscrabble Woman”, a laid-back blues rock number which is pretty decent, but nothing to write home about. Closing the album is “Chasing Rainbows”, a rough-cut rock‘n’roll song which buzzes through the speakers.
Overall, it’s obvious that Revered Horton Heat are packing a huge hard-on to play the hell of their instruments and have the skills and talent to do so. I’m talking about groovy guitar work, a swinging rhythm section and excellent song writing skills supported by a crystal-clear production sound. “REV” is a tight, sweet record, worthy of carrying the Revered Horton Heat name and I’m glad to have it in my record collection.