The State Of Things

Re-hashing a similar formula throughout 12 tracks makes for sour and rarely enjoyable listening.

Crunchy bass lines, tucked away behind raucous drumming sequences and “tell it how it is” lyrics that spew from a Sheffield accent…wait, hold on a minute, this all sounds too familiar. Oh yeah, don’t the Arctic Monkeys fit that description? It’s no surprise that Alex Turner is actually a good friend of Jon “The Reverend” McClure and the two have worked with each other in the past, playing live and writing songs, one of which - ‘He Said He Loved Me’ – pops up on this debut record from McClure’s shiny new project, Reverend and The Makers.

While Turner can swiftly swerve around corners with quick-fire poetry that has so far remained appealing, McClure insists on relying on a form of songwriting that roots inside the pockets of the Monkeys, and even Hard-Fi, who’ve already dented the pages in their notebooks with stories of middle-class Britain.

In the right hands, the inclusion of aggressive, electronic keys can ensure a hit either on the dance floor or in a sweaty live venue. McClure tries to sound important, dictating about “the state of things” on the opening title track and for a while, the sound remains reasonably fresh. But re-hashing a similar formula throughout 12 tracks that rarely surpass mediocrity (there are far too many crunchy bass lines and synthy sweeps on offer), makes for sour and rarely enjoyable listening. Oh, and if I hear someone else strangling the life out of the line “ignorance is bliss,” I won’t be responsible for my actions.

 

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Arriving with an armful of Arctic Monkeys connections (management, tours, hometown, early bands), Reverend And The Makers are fortunately far more than another bunch of soundalikes. Their sound is rooted more deeply in dance and funk, with the backing to their debut single proving to be one of those you know it but you don’t bass lines from some or other ‘80s track (The Jam? Teardrop Explodes?). As the title suggests, self-confidence is not an issue and that would be one thing they do share with Turner & co, as well as a love of John Cooper Clarke (who appears on the b-side). Good idea, whether it’ll carry or disappear commercially is hard to call at the moment.

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