Having got fed up with hearing 'The Heavyweight Champion Of The World' on the radio at the time I have only just caught up with this album. I have to say that I am so glad that I did now though! Featuring some 'poptastic Indie tunes, it is full of catchy hooks, great bass lines and intelligent, satirical lyrics.
What I like about the album the most is that the songs depict real life situations even though in a lot of cases they do not highlight the positives. Songs like 'Bandits' (about irresponsible Men and gambling) are so true to life it almost hurts. Sadly, I have known quite a few 'blokes' like the one in the song but their desperation to win money to pay the bills with also says a lot about the way society works ( or doesn't as the point may be!) today.
While the album contains some 'biting' satire it never comes across as 'smug' or 'sarcastic' just brutally honest and that is rather refreshing for me in the modern age. There are a few 'borrowed riffs' ( spot the intro to Toni Basil's 'Mickey' when you get this!) and the lead vocals are sung with a distinctly 'Northern' accent, which might not suit everyone, but if you can accept a 'good working class voice' then this is every bit the equal of Pulp's 'Different Class' set and a dead-cert classic for fans of John Cooper-Clarke.
While virtually everyone's been wetting themselves about the Artic Monkeys second album Reverend And The Makers have snuck up on the rails and produced an album that's roughly about fifty times as enjoyable as the Sheffield moppets effort. RATM may not have the snaky post punk or maybe its now punk edge of the Artic Monkeys but they know how to write songs that sink irresistibly into the grey stuff rather than skitter annoyingly round the cranium before disappearing forgettabley into the ether. There is a link between the two bands of course. The Reverend John McClure has previously been in two other bands, the first named Judan Suki along with Alex Turner. The Second - 1984 is referred to in the famous Monkeys lyrics "dancing to electro-pop like a robot from 1984" and "I bet you look good on the dance floor". Alex Turner even plays and co-writes "The Machine" and provides guitar on "Sex With The Ex" Thankfully that's all they have in common .RATM are a far more playful , engaging and esoteric experience. There are elements of ska, pop, punk and even electonica in the 12 songs here. Funky fluid bass lines vie with steely glowering keyboards and razor wire guitars and blimey there is even a violin on the sky scrapingly melodious "Armchair Detective". There are some great songs sung with a slight sneer but never in an over affected manner that can rapidly becomes as irritating as a blue bottle in a light fitting. "Heavyweight Champion Of the World" is anthemic but don't let that put you off and it s by no means the only track on The State Of Things that could qualify in the anthem stakes. The title track like..... well any song on the album is centred around some societal or everyday event but has a towering epic quality that belies its kitchen sink origins." Bandits" even has the audacity to have an internal dialogue going on round a steaming carousel of a tune. The delicate tingling guitar refrain of "Sex With The Ex" provides pretty contrast as do the vocals of Jon's girlfriend, Laura Manuel, who provides occasional balanced purity to McClure's severe constructive diatribes. This particularly applies to excellent latest single He Said He Loved Me with a caustic duet telling the story of a heartbroken teenager who's been dumped by an older man. Only occasionally does it pall -"What The Milkman Saw" is energetic enough but lacks the sing-a- long impact of the albums strongest songs and while the dub influenced "Sundown On The Empire" is a laudable attempt to shoe horn a dissimilar genre into the mix it's a rather mundane attempt. The ska -influenced "Miss Brown" shows it how its done. Overall this is a sneeringly confident debut album with depth , essence and most importantly tunes that could thaw a concrete golem. As the zippy almost techno based "The Machine " says "Don't, forget you can get off the conveyor" .Time to take that leap of faith now.
I bought this cd after hearing "heavyweight champion of the world" while shopping in HMV, never heard of them before and not really my type of music either. After listening to it a few times i am pleasantly surprised!! The first 3 tracks are really great but then it seems to go down hill a bit but they are all great tracks. Reminds me of Preston from the ordinary boys but better!! Well can't be worse can it?? I've got heavyweight champ as my ringtone now which has people asking" who's that mate" when my phone rings in pubs etc so I'm spreading the word folks.
The first album by Jon "The Reverend" McClure's Reverend and the makers is one of the great debut albums of all time, giving a critical and comprehensive view of English society and in particular Sheffield, The State Of Things is just that, a view of the state of everyday life in the north. An album not to be missed, a true Indie/alternative classic including the popular songs Open Your Window and HeavyWeight Champion of The World. Buy this album!
I have seen the band twice and each time they electrify the hall. Lets not start over analysing the lyrics and comparing this band and others. Great tunes with banging bass lines and lyrics that reflect the thoughts, opinions and actions of normal people. I can't wait until they come to the south coast again!!!
Don't listen to M. Pullman "clown" who's quite obviously a someone with what seem's a very large chip on their shoulder this is a great debut album 'warts and all' from a young man (and his band) who's shot to stardom in a little over 5 months while ruffling a few feathers along the way, and good on him.
In the words of The Guardian's review of the album 'Jon McClure is the self-aggrandising, Sheffield-bred Reverend, and with his backing group, the Makers, he works through the same poetry of beers, blokes and birds as the Arctic Monkeys (Alex Turner even contributes vocals to the chorus of The Machine). Yet McClure has also tapped into the Steeel City's hard-edged electro heritage, filling the album with the kind of gritty electric pulses that make the swaggering Heavyweight Champion Of The World, The State Of Things and the laid-back strut of Sundown On The Empire so vital. Things may go awry on He Said He Loved Me, where comedy Essex girls cheep-cheep the grating refrain, but as an updated take on the Specials' equal disgust and infatuation with urban life, it's impressive' 4/5 Leonie Cooper.
It's an album that demands your attention and one you should hear so you can form your own opinion - there'll always be detractors but in most cases I reckon people will rate this album highly.
There's always going to be some bias when reviewing a local band whom you really like, but this is wothout a doubt a truly great album. No doubt there will be critics and it may not get the recognition it deserves as theyre not an over publicised band but the quality of the songs is stunning.
Whilst most people will know the singles "heavyweight champion of the world" and "He said he loved me" the other songs which i believe really stand out are "18-30" and "What the milkman saw"
To prove i can be critical between tracks 4 and 7 you can kind of lose track of the songs as they are all similar sounding, but if you listen tot hem individually you appreciate how good they actually are.
Hadn't heard of these before I went to see the Courteeners and I have to say live they where by far the better band, full of energy. Will definitely be buying more albums and looking out for their next gig!,Brilliant