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The Reverend Horton Heat

Revival (Yep Rock)

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The Reverend attempted to retool his rockabilly with big industrial-rock touches on 1998's Space Heater, and he hopped on the swing trend with 1996's It's Martini Time. Neither album broadened his appeal much beyond a rabid cult following that worries more about his next T-shirt design than his next CD. Thus, on his last few releases, the Rev's settled into "put one out to tour on" mode, and this may be his most uninspired record to date.

The no-frills production should spell a return to roots, but only points up his diminished vocal growl and standard rockabilly romping. The trio still wails away on its noisemakers with the best of 'em. The little jangle to "Pet Rock" is fun, and the crooner "We Belong Forever" suits the band's present energy level. But then the Rev follows a finger-wagging heroin warning ("Indigo Friends") with a sarcastic gospel try ("Someone in Heaven"); its tongue barely meets its cheek. These kinds of aged revelations don't sit too well, coming from a guy who spent the previous 15 years touting boozin' and fightin'. But he still loves the endless tour-bus life, as evidenced on the last and peppiest tune, "Goin' Back Home"; it's a minute and a half meant to be a quick kiss-off, but like much of the record, it feels more like a knockoff.

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