As one of the most politically charged bands to emerge from the mid-2000s indie explosion, it was always a problem that Sheffield quintet Reverend and the Makers' downfall was their politically charged lyrics. Their 2007 debut The State of Things and 2009's A French Kiss in the Chaos had the tunes but they were accompanied by a series of diatribes that were so "beginner's guide to politics" that it was hard to take loudmouth frontman Jon McClure even remotely seriously. Luckily, their Twitter-titled third album, @Reverend_Makers, suggests they have learned their lesson. Produced by James Dring (Gorillaz) and Youth (the Verve), its ten tracks prove McClure's way with words is far less clunky when focusing on satirical tales of everyday life than trying to put the world to rights. This new relaxed perspective is immediately reflected on the hedonistic club banger "Bassline" and the string-soaked funk of "Out of the Shadows." But despite the odd misguided venture into dubstep ("Depth Charge"), it's a dance record that unashamedly revels in the indie disco sounds of the '90s. The stomping "1+0" combines the swirling guitar hooks circa U2's Zooropa era with an array of squelches and bleeps borrowed from the acid house movement, "Noisy Neighbour" echoes the propulsive electro-rock of two-hit wonders Republica, while "Shine the Light" merges the baggy pop beats of the Madchester scene with the gospel leanings of Primal Scream's Screamadelica. It's all entirely derivative of course, and at times, particularly on the tinny ska-pop of "Warts 'n' All," utterly banal. But as a pure carefree party record, @Reverend_Makers achieves its intentions far more convincingly than the band's previous party political broadcasts.
AllMusic Review by Jon O'Brien