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

4/5 stars

A decade on from their debut album, Reverend and The Makers return with The Death of a King; their 6th top 20 album to date.

Recorded in Karma Sound Studios, Thailand, the band, led by John McClure, return to the psychedelic persuasion of 2015 release Mirrors, leaving behind the sound of the Sheffield indie-renaissance of their 2007 debut The State of Things. Furthermore, as reflected in the title, the album is more concerned by the death of the King of Thailand, Bhumibol Adulyadej, than British politics, which may come to a shock to some, after McClure’s great involvement and praise for Corbyn’s political campaign earlier this year.

The album opens slowly with ‘Miss Haversham’, yet picks up pace with the melodic ‘Auld Reekie Blues’; a melancholic love song intertwined with the sound of retro pop, this time sung by guitarist Ed Cosens. McClure also gives up his position of lead vocals later in the album, as Joe Carnall (Milburn) delivers the penultimate song on the album ‘Juliet Knows’, which is a beautifully crafted, brooding folk melody, once again carrying this mournful, melancholic tone which characterises the tone of the album. The environmental, Asian impact on the band is most notably found in ‘Bang Saray’, a wholly instrumental track indulging in oriental sounds with a clear jungle influence, demonstrative of the great variety within the record. Perhaps the most memorable song on the album, invariably different to those preluding it, is the heavier, bolder, blues-rock anthem ‘Too Tough to Die’, which, deservedly, has been acclaimed by BBC Radio 6 Music’s Steve Lamacq.

The Death of a King is rewarded by the band’s collective sense of individuality, as they strive solely to make music for their own enjoyment, and that of their fans, which gives each individual track an air of passionate dedication, and forgives the vast variation of style which some may feel disrupts the composition of the album.

IMAGE: James Heward, Pomona

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