Album Review: The Death of a King by Reverend and the Makers

Posted by Gig Junkies on Tuesday Aug 29, 2017 Under Album Review, Music News

Review by Zyllah Moranne-Brown.

So Reverend and the Makers return with their new offering ‘ The Death of a King’  Initially born our of a collective of musicians the core of Jon McClure, Ed Cosens, Joe Carnall , Laura McClure and Ryan Jenkinson, this outing shares vocal duties amongst band members and chuck in a few friends as good measure and provides and eclectic and infectious outing.

‘The Death Of A King’ Recorded in Karma Sound Studios, Thailand, it’s the follow up to Top 20 album ‘Mirrors’; influences come from the past and present, indie alternative with at times an Asian twist and a twist of psychedelia with a quirky commercialism to the tunes.

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McClure says of recording ‘The Death Of A King’ “As soon as we got there, the king of Thailand died. And there was a mad monsoon. Most of the town went into mourning and shut down, and all the people who worked at the studio were wearing black. There was this whole ceremony for the king, which was quite moving but it put a weird atmosphere in the air.”

McClure is also a supporter of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and feeds off the potential of optimism for progressive change – he’s even been championing this Labour vision  on the likes of  the Al-Jazeera news-desk and appearing on Channel 4 News. Oh and blame McClure for that Seven Nation Army take of ‘Oh Jeremy Corbyn.’

Back to the album. Featuring recent single ‘Juliet Knows’ with Joe Carnell on vocals, and doesn’t detract from the bands lyrical prowess. McClure, remains a songwriter of intensity, vision and seemingly boundless energy and indeed, never afraid to wear his heart on his sleeve.

McClure explained the story behind the making of ‘The Death of a King.’: “We loved the recording abroad thing after the last album. Gives the albums a flavour of their own and so we thought we’d give Thailand a try, take the family and all that I’ve been there before and Pete and Carl raved about Bang Saray so we took all the gang out there. Loads of us. It had finally got back to that big collective I’d always wanted to create. Having long since given up the notion of being number 1 we resolved to just make tunes we liked. Ryan’s mrs played bass for a tune, the wives and kids sang backing vocals. Being so far away from home and my family (Laura couldn’t come as she was pregnant) meant I was starting to go a bit mental by the end . I kinda feel like some of that comes thru in the tunes a bit too. I’m kind of off trying to recreate Heavyweight Champion of the World. I’m 35. I have a new set of concerns . I see the world in a different way now so I’m trying to be true to who I am today.”

Starting off with the eerie and then foot stomping ‘Miss Haversham’, “..are you building a wall round your house so no one can get through to you?”, ‘Auld Reekie Blues’ is almost Squeeze inspired tune (another band with the ability to write awesome lyrics due to Difford and Tilbrook)  to the oriental inspired ‘Bang Seray.’

Reverend and the Makers aren’t afraid to shake it up –  no track is the same, though all undoubtedly have the quirky band core sound at it’s base. Inspiration comes from a raft of sources – a ska beat on ‘Boomerang’. “You come back round like a boomerang…”  Indeed. I coming back round to re-listen time and time again.

‘Too Tough to Die’ is rock version Reverend and the Makers, while ‘Monkey See, Monkey Do’ has an Oasis Britpop feel, with sweeping violins as an intro. ‘Black Cat’ a gipsy-vibe, ‘Time Machine’ has an infectious verse with a Britpop indie influence, which album completer goes all gothically psychedelic with Laura McClure on haunting vocals.

I found this new outing album an infectious listen, each track enough musical variation, lyrical prowess and eclectic nature, to keep me listening. And listening, time and time again.

Well worth investing your hard earned cash in. 

Reverend and the Makers got caught up in the debacle that was Liverpool’s Hope and Glory Festival, and McClure posted his views clearly for all to see. But they are out and about –  playing (hopefully) more successful festivals in September, before a tour in October and November 2017.

Track listing:
Miss Haversham
Auld Reekie 
Blues
Bang Seray
Boomerang
Too Tough To Die
Carlene
Monkey See, Monkey Do
Black Cat
Autumn Leaves
Time Machine
Juliet Knows
Black Flowers

‘The Death Of A King’ will be available from 22nd September 2017 on CD, Deluxe edition CD, 12” Vinyl, limited edition 12” vinyl, cassette and digital download from September 22nd and can be pre-ordered from the band’s website and iTunes. The deluxe edition features two additional tracks with The Coral’s James Skelly, and renowned poet John Cooper Clarke.

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