Reverend Horton Heat (from the album Whole New Life available on Victory Records)
The Reverend Horton Heat plugs in Rock’n’Roll riffs to build album number twelve, the recently released Whole New Life. The force of the rockabilly raised up by Reverend Horton Heat is in place as Whole New Lifetakes him into a redesigned musical territory. Working on his vocals, the good Rev brought a fresh tone to his words as the musical backing of Whole New Lifetook steps into vintage studio sounds, Reverend Horton Heat recalling that ‘back in the 1950’s, reverb chambers were really hip and I always loved their warmth. I’m all about Sam Phillips and the things he did with tape machines and tape echo. I love that kind of production value, even if it is older than me! It really sent me to this whole other headspace where I worked with a lot of vintage gear on this album - some of which I built myself for a truly unique sound - ribbon, old tube microphones, pre-amps and stuff’. The vocal work was a match for the recording gear, the overall sound getting a bump from the band, the Reverend bringing in a new drummer (Arjuna (RJ) Contreras) and adding a piano (Matt Jordan) to the existing lineup of his guitar and long-time bass man, Jimbo Wallace.
A solid backbeat lays down a path for Reverend Horton Heat to shuffle into his Whole New Lifeas the title track opens the album with the hammer down. Thick notes warble and wobble as the pace slows when Reverend Horton Heat falls to his knees in supplication to make his plea in “Don’t Let Go of Me”. He sings of his troubles with a glint in his eye for “Hog Tyin’ Woman”, pounds out a beat to declare “Got It in My Pocket”, and sets rockabilly rhythms against a second line groove to head down “Tchoupitoulas Street”. Jubilation is the norm on Whole New Lifeas Reverend Horton Heat sketches a smile into words as the natural happy feet vibe of the music slaps and tickles the album tracks. The uplifting tone to the tales was intentional, Reverend Horton Heat feeling that Whole New Liferepresents ‘the most positive material I have ever written. It focuses heavily on rock and roll but there is a human interest parallel - songs about growing up poor, vices, marriage, having children and walking the rapturous streets of America’. Dawn breaks on a pounding beat as Reverend Horton Heat greets the day with “Sunrise Through the Powerlines” as wriggling riffs wrap around the boasts of “Perfect”. The rhythm twists and turns, teetering closer to the far borders of a beat as Whole New Lifebarrels through “Wonky” as the band breaks in a fast-clip trot on “Ride Before the Fall” and Reverend Horton Heat shakes, rattles, and rolls, nodding to The King as he roars into “Viva Las Vegas”.
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