It’s a feisty uplifting record set to send perplexed skinny tied kids into ferocious swing across the country. The Reverend, Jon McClure, has waited for the correct moment amongst a busy local scene to unleash this menace of a debut album- binding his time as the Arctic Monkeys phenomena settled down.
Like most music from the Steel City these days, we can’t escape the Arctic Monkeys link. Jon has previously been in two other bands, the first named Judan Suki along with Alex Turner. The Second – 1984 is referred to in the famous Monkeys lyrics “dancing to electro-pop like a robot from 1984” and “I bet you look good on the dance floor.” But despite these strong connections, this album is evidence of an added independent dimension to the Sheffield sound.
It’s dripping with potential anthems such as The State Of Things and Heavyweight Champion Of The World. Whilst The Machine is one of many tunes that’ll send you fidgeting like a futuristic automaton android to every beat. Performing live, Jon can’t help himself as his lanky awkward posture shifts like a certain Peter Crouch.
Then there’s Sex With The Ex which nicely divides the album up with a slower, reflective track about the most difficult of situations. “Although you left him bitter, he still fancies you, although he’s been round a bit since, no-one does it like you do.” So poetic, so beautiful. Well not quite, but the crude cunning statement sums up the Reverends’ craft of putting things in a way we can all relate.
The vocals of Jon’s girlfriend, Laura Manuel, provide occasional balanced purity to the main mans harsh constructive verbal rants. This particularly applies to latest single He Said He Loved Me with a shimmering duet telling the story of a heartbroken teenager who’s been dumped by an older man. It works well.
The most pleasing element of the album is those earlier demos floating around the internet, have for once been well produced. Songs such as Bandits now have an added edge with more strength, depth and substance to the original foundations.
“I am the Reverend, I’ll tell you about the state of things.” This is the word according to Jon.