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The Full-Custom Gospel Sounds of the Reverend Horton Heat

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Album Review

With fellow Texas maniac Gibby Haynes on production, Heat and his trusty sidemen go at it again on The Full Custom Gospel Sounds and do so with all the style and sass one could want. Kicking off with "Wiggle Stick," a perfectly lubricious number that ended up scoring the band some airplay with Beavis and Butthead, the good Reverend serves notice that his services are once again the type of affairs where the Blood and the Body aren't necessarily spiritual. Full Custom is arguably more frenetic and metal-leaning than before — not that Heat has turned into Robert Plant or anything like that, but the likes of "Livin' on the Edge (Of Houston)" would sound perfect smack dab in the middle of a Motörhead set. When it comes to matters lyrical, meanwhile, Heat is still the clever, leering bastard he's been before, and why not? The absolute killer on that front is "Bales of Cocaine," arguably the only English-language equivalent to narcotraficante corridas worthy of the comparison. Then there's the classic rockabilly strut and swing of "Beer: 30," where everything's boiled down to the doesn't-need-more triad of "Party! Get naked! Buy us more beer!" Aside from the "speed up then slow down the tape" goofiness on the concluding "Gin and Tonic Blues," Haynes doesn't really change the band's overall sound or anything, but he sure does help it sound great. Meanwhile, what the band comes up with in terms of variation is often a treat. For instance, who expected a drop-dead perfect borrowing from the Sweet's "Ballroom Blitz" making the brilliantly angry "400 Bucks" sound even better? Otherwise Heat keeps playing like crazy — quiet when he needs to be and explosive when the time is right — with Wallace and Bentley going after things with the same perfect feel.

Biography

Born: 1959 in Corpus Christi, TX

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

The Reverend Horton Heat is perhaps the most popular psychobilly artist of all time, really rivaled only by genre founders the Cramps. The Reverend (as both the three-man band and its guitar-playing frontman were known) built a strong cult following during the '90s through constant touring, manic showmanship, and a twisted sense of humor. The latter was nothing new in the world of psychobilly, and Heat's music certainly kept the trashy aesthetic of his spiritual forebears. The Reverend's true innovation...
Full bio