Reverend Horton Heat is nothing if not consistent. The Reverend has been putting psychobilly on the map the last 23 years. Since 1990, Reverend Horton Heat has released 11 albums, the latest being Rev, his first album on Victory Record and his first album since 2009’s Laughin’ & Cryin’ with the Reverend Horton Heat.
As with any Reverend Horton Heat record, you can expect instrumentals, intricate sexual innuendos, and some downtrodden country tune. Rev in no way disappoints on any of these fronts. Kicking off with the instrumental “Victory Lap,” the Reverend is clearly in fine form. The track sets the torrid pace of the album and shows that in his third decade of making music, the Reverend’s fingers aren’t slowing down. The track then seamlessly transitions into “Smell of Gasoline,” arguably the best song on the album. The driving rockabilly track has a sense of urgency not heard from the Reverend since 1996’s It’s Martini Time.
Post-“Smell of Gasoline,” the album gets dicier. “Never Gonna Stop It” is catchy but it features some truly cringe-worthy lyrics. It begins with “they can plant any money they need/and make it illegal to grow weed” before breaking into the chorus of “never gonna stop rock ‘n’ roll.” “Zombie Dumb” is essentially an instrumental with just occasional interjections of “zombie dumb.” Unfortunately it feels a bit forced as if cashing in on the zombie craze while the track does not feel very spookie.
The album does rebound with tracks like “Schizoid” and “Let Me Teach You How To Eat,” the latter of which is a close second for the best track on the album. “Let Me Teach You How to Eat” is steeped in sexual innuendo with talk of “(let me teach you) how to marinate the meat/let me teach you how to eat/its a culinary treat/let me teach you how to eat.” Of course while the lyrics are tantalizing but the intense, driving rockabilly instrumental really make the track.
It is those driving instrumentals that really make the album. Although Rev does have its mediocre moments, it is hard to see any Reverend Horton Heat fan finding too many faults in the record.