What can be said about Reverend & The Makers? They are really one of those bands who enjoyed near instant success with their first single and were catapulted into sitting carefully beneath the scrutiny of the both the music and gutter press. In their relatively short career, they have enjoyed the pleasure of being marred in classic rock star controversies with members walking out, rumours of breakups as well as frontman Jon ‘The Reverend’ Mclure’s rather strong worded comments against certain celebrities and his political activism. However, the band survived and following the rather modestly successful last album, they have come back from their two year hiatus pulling no punches for the always difficult third album @Reverend_Makers.
With the album’s title being lifted straight from their twitter page Mclure has stated that he considers the ‘@’ symbol almost an icon of modern life, so before you even listen to the first track you know what the songs are going to be dealing with. Thematically this is swing back towards the observations of life through The Reverend’s relatable, but delightfully cynical lens that featured so strongly on The State of Things and a turn away from the more politically minded spin on things they tried with varying success to deal with on A French Kiss In The Chaos.
This return to roots in terms of content is reflected strongly in the music as well as they go back to the anthematic indie rock that first propelled them into popularity, with the grooving riffs and shout out loud choruses that retake front of shop rather than the sort of middle of the road attempt at abstractness they went with on album number two. But this back track though does not lead to the album being simply a rehash of everything we have seen before; there is a much stronger presence of influences of dance and even a bit of dubstep in there that make welcome additions to their sound, despite Mclure’s scathing observations of Friday-Night life. The first track ‘Bassline’ deals with the mundane that comes with the typical “living for the weekend” perspective, and I could even imagine it worming its way into nightclubs across the country. The same can be said for ‘Out of the Shadows’ and ‘Depthcharge’ as all these songs are just prime examples of indie rock meshed together with dance tunes. But of course you have the more classic hark backs to a more traditional and more nineties sound, with a foray of excellent tracks scattered throughout the album such as ‘Shine a Light’ and ‘The Wrestler’ that really do tick all the boxes.
I would like to say there is not a bad song to be found but unfortunately there is one worm in the apple in the form of the brief, soft and slow ‘Yes You Do’. While The Reverend has shown they can do numbers like this, it seems that this little experiment just doesn’t quite gel. The music sounds almost like a parody of itself and I just do not think McLure’s voice matches up either. Maybe that’s what they were going for but for me this song is the one bump on an otherwise smooth album.
While nothing world shattering, I can safely and simply say that @Reverend_Makers is just all round an excellent showing from Reverend & The Makers who overcome the typical difficult third album syndrome with flying colours. I don’t see them taking the world by storm or blowing many minds with this, but it can be said the album is a hell of a lot fun and entertaining as anything; good honest music that wears its heart on its sleeve and delivers a commentary of the modern world that I am pretty sure we can all nod along to and say ‘yep’. A tidy and well-rounded offering that shows that despite everything Reverend & The Makers still know how to do it.