Reverend Horton Heat

Record Review

Phases and Stages

Reverend Horton Heat

Lucky 7 (Artemis) Reverend Horton Heat nearly got himself excommunicated with 1998's abominable Space Heater, and although 2000's Spend a Night in the Box didn't quite merit a life sentence in the old gray-bar hotel, neither did it approach the hair-raising heights of the days when the Rev was young, dumb, and full of cum. (1999's anthology Holy Roller is culled largely from those days, and duly smokes.) Expectations thusly obliterated, what does the ornery sumbitch do for this Artemis debut (making him labelmates with fellow Texans Jimmie Vaughan and Steve Earle -- go figure) but make, at last, the proper follow-up to 1993's baptism by fire The Full Custom Gospel Sounds of the Reverend Horton Heat. He may be preaching to the choir at this point, but with rejuvenated style and without those annoying excursions into cocktail swing (save "Go With Your Friends," which finally gets it right). What's left is vintage flame-fendered psychobilly that recalls his Sub Pop heyday, beginning with lifestyle manifesto "Loco Gringos Like a Party," continuing along various vehicular homages, up-tempo ultimatums, and instrumental larks, and concluding with an amusing valentine to longtime slap-bass sidekick "Nature Boy" Jimbo Wallace. In a way, he's come full circle: On "400 Bucks," our Reverend was upset because his woman took his money and bought a car; now, on "Galaxy 500," she's left him the car and took everything else -- and he couldn't be happier. Can I get an Amen?

***

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