Album Review: Reverend and the Makers – Mirrors

Sheffield indie rockers Reverend and The Makers were instantly covered in glory right from their very first album, the brilliant The State of Things, that marked them out as purveyors of the finest groove-laden smart pop back in 2007, and followed it, with a hint of sophistication and witty political lyricism, with A French Kiss in Tthe Chas, before the good Reverend Jon Mcclure gang surrendered to electronic beats with their next two albuns. @Reverend and The Makers and Thirty Two, and after several changes in the band’s members, Jon , Laura McClure and Ed Cosens welcomed the drummer Ryan Jenkinson, and the ex-Milburn bassist Joe Carnall as members.

It didn’t take long for a follow-up of Thirty-Two (Jon McClure’s age back in 2014) to come to reality- as with lyrics and melodies in mind, the band headed to Jamaica of all places to record the album and also a movie featuring the Jamaican landscapes and the back stories of the recording of the songs. The result, out October 9th, is Mirrors, the fifth album of the band, and it represents a great change in their sound with tendencies towards classic rock, with intricate rhythm guitars and bass adding up some experimental feeling and, as they were in Jamaica, hints of afro drums. Always searhcing for the killer progression the album is littere with great chords sequences, reinforced with Carnall’s bass and Ed Cosens’s stunning guitar work. The thing that really draws attention in this album is the fact that the Reverend himself, allied maybe to his recent admission of fallibility, shares wisely the vocals amongst the band, with all the members singing at one point or another over the 14 songs.

As a smart marketing technique, the first five tracks and “Mr Glassalfempty” were unveiled each week before the releasing of the album on October, 9th, a clever way to please the loyal fans and instigate the curiosity of potential listeners. Among them are the killer “Makin Babies” and “Stuck On You” which mix this new, sun-kissed sound alongside influences of the Beatles’ classic Sgt Peppers Lonely Heart Club Band, all delivered wrapped up in clever guitars lines and heavy use of the reeds.

As for the vocals, it makes for interesting listening – highlights including Ed Cosens in the bridge of “Black Widow” (A song which has the faded sheffield glamour of an Artic Monkeys), as well as the indie rock of “The Trip” and in “Last To Know”, a beautiful delicate heartbreak of an acoustic song. Laura McClure has also a significant part to play on the vocals, with the intense “My Mirror”, but also through her work on the backing vocals, blending her soft voice with Jon’s strong voice – creating a well known sound chararacteristic of the band. In addition, there’s Joe Carnall on “Something to Remember” adding something in a very beautiful way, a clash between his band The Book Club and Reverend and The Makers.

Sonically the band have continued to evolve, adding a more experimental touch to their straight up rock sound, and at the same time moving away from the electro beats of their most recent long players, as McLure rips his usual pun infested stories and observations, although maybe without some of the more overtly politicising of his former days. Maybe the best example in the album is “Mr Gassalfempty”, where Mclure shows his hand with keenly observed poetic lyrics

Mirrors could a big surprise not only for the long term fans but also for the new listeners of the band. Paying more attention to the sound, using more organic elements and experimenting, Reverend and The Makers found a new stage in their career with a more mature approach, without leaving behind their trademark sound and witty lyrics. This might well be the makers best album since The State of Things.

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