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Album Review

After nearly 15 years as the most frantic act in the rockabilly cosmos, Jim Heath and his partners in the Reverend Horton Heat seem to be slowing down just a bit, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing. Revival, Heat's eighth album, finds Heath cutting back the tempos and aiming for a slightly more subtle approach, though his guitar work is blazingly fluid as ever. The less manic attack was doubtless informed by the material, which finds Heath dealing with some serious themes for a change. The death of Heath's mother inspired "Someone in Heaven," a sincere country weeper that's deeply emotional without sounding cloying, while "Indigo Friends" pays homage to several friends who've succumbed to drug addiction. Elsewhere, "Revival" tells of one man's search for redemption of some kind, and the bluesy "Lonesome Man" and the full-throttle "Goin' Back Home" both deal with the ups and downs of life on the road with flinty but easygoing honesty. But while Revival is thought-provoking stuff by the Reverend Horton Heat's standards, there's still a solid dose of good rockin' fun here, with "Callin' in Twisted" and "Party Mad" devoted to the business of having a good time, "Octopus Mode" and "New York City Girls" celebrating memorable women, and "I'm Your Pet Rock" offering up a new and innovative romantic metaphor. If you're looking for some red-hot rockabilly, the Rev is still your man, but Revival shows off some unexpected sides of his personality, and the changeup makes for some refreshing listening.


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, his recognition only rivaled by the esteem generated by the genre's 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, of course, and Heat's music certainly kept the trashy aesthetic...
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Revival, The Reverend Horton Heat
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