Since 1985, Reverend Horton Heat has lit a fire under fans with a singular—and slightly psychotic—blend of country, surf, punk and rockabilly.
Moving to the hardcore punk Victory Records for its 11th studio release, the band sounds reinvigorated, a bit more untethered and energetic. The full tank is evident from the get-go, with “Victory Lap,” a bottled-lightning instrumental built around a heavy surf-guitar riff, rushing right into “Smell of Gasoline,” a tale of tough-guy-and-tougher-girl teenage romance.
The album cover—a hot rod flanked by two tanks—is as much a statement of purpose for the band as the 1994 party anthem “Liquor, Beer & Wine.” On Rev, the band maintains an almost militant adherence to its old-school ethos.
Other top tracks are the freshly killed psychobilly of “Zombie Dumb,” the breakneck paranoia of “Schizoid” and the album’s single, “Let Me Teach You How To Eat,” which shows the Rev’s tongue-in-cheek humor is as lively as ever.
The Reverend (Jim Heath), along with bassist Jimbo Wallace and drummer Scott Churilla, takes a turn toward honky-tonk with “Longest Man Gone” and “Hardscrabble Woman.”
With a reputation that’s long proceeded the band, the relentlessly touring Reverend Horton Heat could be excused for taking a bit of a breather. But this record proves one thing above all else: There’s no taming the Rev.