You never really forget the first time you hear the word psychobilly. Well, you probably do, but personally it was an older cousin talking about the Reverend Horton Heat (though I didn’t know that at the time) and saying the famed, “You’ve got to hear this”. And while they released class acts for years, there came that almost inevitable dip in quality.
Rev sees the band return after an almost half-decade break, and they’ve recaptured some of that energy and personality that filled their earlier records. This album blend their typical genres and in that sense is nothing new, but they simply feel fresh, you know? A band excited to play, that translates to disc.
Smell of Gasoline has some spicy guitar-work, sleek when time calls for it but ultimately a shredding undertone to those raspy vocals. Never Gonna Stop It has rockabilly swagger from the off, tight and on point, while Zombie Dumb simply feels fun, with the looming ‘Uh oh’ kicking things off – the classic beach theme meeting an undead twist. Who can deny the enjoyment in music when it feels like those behind it had a good time putting it together?
Schitzoid is, as the title may suggest, a little bit crazy, but feels like a jam session. Though the pace slows slightly, there’s some neat additions to keep the bounce going. Mad Mad Heart is classic in every sense; you can almost picture the 50s diner dancefloor.
From a guitarist’s point of view, this is a delight, but broadly this is a band who sound like they have reclaimed whatever it was that made them enjoy their music in the first place. At times it’s fast-paced and furious, and at others it’s got some tongue-in-cheek humour and good times for the sake of it. When it boils down to it, this is a fun album.