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REVIEW: Reverend and the Makers newest album reviewed

Words: Aaron Jackson

Reverend and the Makers’ seventh album Heatwave in the Cold North arrives the best part of a year after the lead-off single and well-received follow-ups ‘Problems’ and ‘A Letter To My 21-Year Old Self’ – all of which are included on the album and offer a fair representation of what’s on offer.

If the sound is lazy, hazy and sweetened with strings, core Reverend concerns remain: communication, connection, relationships, opportunity, honesty and what happens if those things break down or are missed.

The singles all landed because they’re well-crafted slices of pop. ‘Heatwave in the Cold North’ is guaranteed to get hands in the air (again) at festivals this summer because it nails the feeling of mildly buzzed late-afternoon sunny contentment on a hook you could land a whale on.

Reverend and the Makers

A paean to friends and others who dump on us without being prepared to offer their own shoulder or ear, ‘Problemsis a slow jam ear worm cunningly hidden inside a diss track for grown-ups; while ‘A Letter To My 21-Year Old Self’ is an exploration of the idea that youth is wasted on the young: an unspooling snapshot of all that’s been and done in the Reverend’s career to date, he offers his younger self very good advice about how to negotiate what he knows is ahead in the full foreknowledge that his younger self, insulated and inoculated with the bulletproof certainty of youth, wouldn’t listen anyway. For such an upbeat tune, its central vibe is one of regret.

This is more than a smash-and-grab of great singles plus whatever was lying around in the ideas book, though. ‘You Don’t Love Me’ comes across as an end-of-the-affair torch song that lays claim to Oasis’s right for ‘Stop Crying Your Heart Out’ to be played the next time England’s footballers inevitably crash out of a major competition – the male ones, that is.

‘The Exception’ offers a Bossa Nova guitar figure while remaining grounded in core concerns of he said/she said/have you heard/when will you learn? The rhythmic moves, however, are straight out of modern pop and old-school hip-hop, resulting in a sombre meditation on an ongoing situation.

By contrast, ‘I Hate It When You Lie’ feels like a South Yorkshire examination of the truth of in vino veritas. Beats from Cypress Hill’s Temples of Boom album cross-pollinate with the jaunty jazz-pop meets ska-polka stylings every female singer went to following the death of Amy Winehouse when they, with typically shark-minded pop instincts, saw the gap in the market.

That shouldn’t be held against it, however, as it’s a genuine earworm with a killer breakdown where 10cc-like stacked vocals punctured by the approaching police sirens that indicate how these things tend to end in domestic situations. 

Overall, Heatwave in the Cold North is another welcome instalment in the story of a band that never fails to deliver.

Heatwave in the Cold North is out now. Head to reverendandthemakers.co.uk to get your copy and see details of the Rev’s upcoming acoustic tour with Ed Cosens.




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