Saturday, 7 July 2012

Flynndie Reviews: Blog #28 - Reverend and the Makers - @Reverend_Makers

Written 7th July 2012

Reverend and the Makers - @Reverend_Makers

The Band: Jon McClure (lead vocals/guitar), Ed Cosens (guitars/bass/backing vocals), Joe Carnall (bass) Jimmy Welsh (drums), Laura McClure (vocals/keyboards)

So mid-June saw the long-awaited return of the Sheffield-based band Reverend and the Makers with their 3rd album ‘@Reverend_Makers’ an album title which shows more than a subtle nod to online social media site Twitter.  The album is the follow up to the band’s first two albums ‘The State of Things’ and ‘A French Kiss in the Chaos’ respectively.  I really enjoyed the band’s debut album back in 2007 ‘The State of Things’.  It had some brilliantly-catchy Indie-pop/Dance tracks on it such as ‘Bandits’, ‘He said he loved me’ and the band’s Top 10 Single ‘Heavyweight Champion of the World’, that song in itself a very much ‘Heavyweight’ track and this album quickly became somewhat of a soundtrack for me during that particular summer.  The band followed this up with their 2nd album ‘A French Kiss in the Chaos’ and again featured some more excellently catchy Indie-Dance tracks aka ‘Hidden Persuaders’ and then also went back to just some good old fashioned Indie tracks aka ‘Professor Pickles’.  This album differed much more from their 1st album however, which was somewhat of a light-hearted, fun ‘snapshot’ of the hustle and bustle of modern day life in the UK, while this 2nd album had a lot more political undertones to the tracks and didn’t quite receive the same recognition received by the band’s debut record.  So after a hiatus the band have finally returned in 2012 with this new album so let’s see what direction they have now returned with on their 3rd album.


1.               Bassline
2.               Out of the Shadows
3.               Shine the Light
4.               Depth Charge
5.               Warts n All
6.               Yes You Do
7.               The Wrestler
8.               1+0
9.               Noisy Neighbour
10.            What Goes Around

So the album gets underway with previous download single ‘Bassline’ and what a gem of a track to mark the band’s return.  Pulling no punches it’s a clear indication that band have somewhat gone back to their roots of the debut album having released a banging, catchy Indie Dance track that grabs the listener even upon first listen.  As Jon opens the track with “All the Monday’s spent, craving for Friday’s highs/All the people want is b-b-bassline” it’s an early indication that this record doesn’t feature the political tones featured on ‘French Kiss’.  After Jon’s opening lyrics, we then get this track’s killer bassline throughout and this is a great, catchy track to get the album underway.  Opening with a nice Spanish-sounding guitar riff ‘Out of the Shadows’ continues to keep up the early pacing of the album following on after the nicely laid foundations of the opening track.  As a friend rightly pointed out to me; this 2nd track, and the album in general, smacks of the sounds of the Ibiza beach and nightclub culture from back around 2001 and it’s actually a sound that suits the band very well here.  As the infectious opening guitar riff, coasts through the heart of the track, backing synths and drums complement Jon’s quickly-spun lyrics very well, I instantly liked this track the first time I heard and that still very much remains the case now.

Third track ‘Shine the Light’ drops-down a gear from the first two tracks initially featuring acoustic guitars and catchy keyboards, this track happily reminds me a bit of the style of sound the Happy Monday’s were famed for creating and it’s actually quite refreshing to hear this type of hedonistic sound again on a modern record.  As Jon’s sings the repeated line of “Shine, Shine the light of luck on me tonight’, with its backing vocal’s it’s almost gospel like and to me again, is a bit of a nod to ‘Hallelujah’ by the Monday’s which is a great thing indeed!  Opening with industrial-strength synths, ‘Depth Charge’ is every bit of a banging track as opener ‘Bassline’ as the combination of layered synths and bass carry the track to another night club level, while subtle keyboards also give the track a bit of an underlying ‘ska’ feel to it.  It’s another instant track on the album and is cleverly layered with instruments upon careful listens.  While the album so far has had quite a clubbing, dance vibe to it ‘Warts n All’ really goes back to the Indie-Pop sound of the band’s first album and they totally nail it here!  Featuring quite a funky guitar riff throughout interspersed with the catchy line “Arrrrre……you showing me your good side?” it keeps the flow of the album going nicely and excellently just towards the end of the track Jon’s vocals go all distant and you just hear him individually playing the main riff of the song on an acoustic guitar in the distant, it’s a brilliant effect and an excellent way to close the track.

‘Yes You Do’ is a short but nice slowed down ballad mid-way through the album, featuring gentle vocals and soft, strumming keyboards here and a nice slide guitar effect through the track, it’s a nice chilled-out track and allows the listener a little rest-bite from the overall ride of the album so far.  Things begin to pick up again with 2nd single from the album ‘The Wrestler’, which I would define encapsulates the trademark sound that the band are known for, as it initially builds from a modest drum rhythm and guitars before a very big sounding chorus, as all the time The Reverend himself masterfully spins lyrics how we can as individuals sometimes create persona’s for ourselves on the outside, much like the larger than life character of a wrestler.  It’s a nicely put together track and really helps defines the sound of the band in my opinion.  Opening with an initially psychedelic guitar riff ‘1+0’ is a track that helps comfortably fill the album, as it buzzes along with guitars, bass and drums all chugging along as one all the time layered with synths giving the track a busy, electronic feel to it, it’s a bit of a romp on the album.

Penultimate track ‘Noisy Neighbour’ opens with a lone jangly guitar riff, before receiving the full momentum of the band at action pulses the sonic track along, and this theme continues as the track becomes interspersed the initial guitar riff through these walls of sound which help captures the track’s title ‘Noisy Neighbour’.  Again this is a very fun, light-hearted yet infectious track which for me is very much the running theme throughout the album as a whole and is all the more better for it.  We close with ‘What Goes Around’ and this seems to be a fitting closing for the album, featuring an up-tempo drum rhythm and more jangly guitars through it, it seems to be the closing statement that the band are back with a triumphant return embracing the roots of their early Indie-Pop Dance sound yet still progressing nicely here.  I think this 3rd album is a real return to form for Reverend and the Makers, not that the 2nd album was in anyway bad as I actually really enjoyed it, but I feel this more carefree, hedonistic spirit captured by this record suits the band’s style of music much more all while Jon’s fantastic lyrics paint out intriguing tales for the listener to dissect.  So despite this UK summer having been so far much of a washout, whenever I give this album a listen it certainly lifts my spirits with its charm and positive vibes and I’m happily going to give this album 8 B-b-basslines out of 10 and hope with repeated listens, the British summertime finally turns up as this album would again be more than a fitting soundtrack for it!              

Depth Charge

Track 1 ‘Bassline’

Track 2 ‘Out of the Shadows’

Track 7 ‘The Wrestler’

PS. I'd also recommend if you can to check out the deluxe CD version of the album as it features an excellent bonus disc featuring some tracks not on the main album and some excellent re-mixes of other tracks that are, there's some proper underground remixes on that bad boy!

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Flynndie Reviews - Blog #27: Tribes - Baby

Written 4th July 2012

Tribes - Baby

The Band: Johnny Lloyd (lead vocals/guitar), Dan White (guitar/backing vocals), Jim Cratchely (bass), Miguel Demelo (drums)

Today’s review sees me somewhat gate-crashing the party late, but after a kind recommendation on Twitter I’ve finally come across the 4-piece Camden-formed band Tribes, whom cite bands such as The Pixies, Nirvana, R.E.M. and Pavement amongst their influences, so today’s review covers their debut album ‘Baby’. So with the formal introductions done, let’s get straight into this one and see what the album sounds like:


1. Whenever
2. We Were Children
3. Corner of an English Field
4. Halfway Home
5. Sappho
6. Himalaya
7. Nightdriving
8. When My Day Comes
9. Walking in the Streets
10. Alone or With Friends
11. Bad Apple

Opening with a somewhat quirky yet enjoyable guitar riff, opening track ‘Whenever’ gets the album underway and it’s a decent, catchy, sing-a-long track that sets the tone of the album nicely. Johnny’s vocals are textbook for the style of Indie-Rock sound the band captures on this album, while this first track features the chorus “I don’t know how you dream up all the things that you say/Never died in an airoplane, while spiraling away” being nothing else but simple yet incredibly catchy lyrics, you can’t help but get caught up in it. ‘We Were Children’ follows up next and is somewhat more of a power track which really helps define the big rock ‘n’ roll sound the band capture on this album. The verses features powerful vocals from Johnny, flirting guitars and bass from Dan and Jim respectively and thunderous drumming from Miguel, before reaching the chorus of the track, which sees Johnny’s vocals more softly sung and the catchy hook “Oh no stranger, you’re just like me”. The overall sound of the track reminds me somewhat of The Pixies, which is always a good thing, and it brought a little smile to my face when I discovered the band had already supported them on tour in the past.

‘Corner of an English Field’ continues and is a bit more of slowed-down affair on the album, featuring an acoustic guitar layered with an electric guitar riff over the top of it during the verses with powerful vocals from Johnny before another big sing-a-along chorus “In the corner of an English field/With the Devil trying to cut a deal” comes in mid-song. 4th track ‘Halfway Home’ sees the band’s attempt of a somewhat more softer ballad track on the album, with a nice gentle, electric guitar riff flowing through it as the lyrics paint out the troubled relationship of a couple backed with gentle “Oooooh’s” before the track picks up in tempo for its final thrid and the song’s protagonist’s reveals that he is actually comfortable with the couple’s relationship the way it stands after all. Previous single ‘Sappho’ follows and with its opening guitar riff it surprisingly reminds a bit of early-era Blur, which again is another good thing by me. This is actually a really decent track, with a great bridge in it and lyrics portraying the carefree, lifestyle of a girl called ‘Sappho’. ‘Himalaya’ is a slow-burner of a track, driven by percussion and gently layered electric guitar again, before another big power chorus, featuring guitar solos and even more “Oooooh’s”, this track is in every sense a big rock ballad on the album.

Up next is possibly my favourite track on the album ‘Nightdriving’, which is again another slow-burning affair but features a nice and excellent guitar riff, through the heart of it, before we feature another massive chorus from the band in true rock fashion before interestingly the track closes with what sounds like radio-spoken samples, which actually gives the track a bit of nice twist and originality to it. Opening with a much more upbeat drum rhythm and guitars ‘When My Day Comes’ is a lot more lively track in the 2nd half of the album and shows a real injection of energy on the album. It’s a really fun, enjoyable romp of a track which the band really nails well here. ‘Walking in the Street’ starts with echoing drums and then features a low-fi guitar riff initially just teasing along, and this really reminds of the type of sound R.E.M. used to occasionally create in their earlier days. It’s a simple, easy going track and sits nicely in its place on the album. ‘Alone with Friends’ opens with acoustic guitar and ‘distant’ vocals from Johnny, and continues to build in layers as it steadily flows along. It’s a slow-winding, hazy track reminding me a bit of Travis from their ‘The Man Who’ days or even ‘Tender’ by Blur. It’s a nice track, that I could easily picture going down well at a festival, as a red sunset draws a long day to a close. The album closes with final track ‘Bad Apple’ and this again another more slowed down track on the album, featuring nice guitars and high-pitched vocals from Johnny, to bring the album to steady close.

So overall I’ve been enjoying this debut album from Tribes over the few listens I have given the album so far. The band does have somewhat of a textbook Indie-rock sound about them but on the tracks on this album that they apply that to, they do very well indeed and you can see how some of the bands that they cite as influences have helped shape the band’s style and sound with this record. I think with some of their songs, they aim to write some big sing-a-long anthems which they certainly achieve, while other tracks aim to provoke the listener’s thoughts and they seem to reach a nice balance of the two. It will be interesting to see how the band approaches their second album, but in the meantime, this is an album I would have no problems making a recommendation to check out as it is very much an enjoyable record and am going to give it a strong 7 Babies out of 10 and mark the Tribes down as a band to currently watch closely in the future.

Keeping Tribal

Track 2 ‘We Were Children’

Track 3 ‘Corner of an English Field’

Track 5 ‘Sappho’