Reverend Horton Heat Revival

Those who understandably assume the good Reverend Horton Heat is the AC/DC of the punkabilly world, sonically static as the soul of a stone mountain, would do well to listen to Revival, the Rev’s first album on Yep Roc. It’s a fresh reinvention of the trio, crisply closer to their early live days rubbing shoulders with Nirvana, and affected with a spirit of dancehall swing that our dearly departed friend Ray Condo would grin at. "New York City Girls,” in fact, sounds like a choice cut of meat off one of Condo’s albums, and there are few higher compliments than that for any greaser with a sexy-banged girlfriend. The standout track, mind you, is the three-note "Indigo Friends,” a fast-moving, head thrasher about lady heroin stealing singer Jim Heath’s amigos that inappropriately makes you crave speed, and in the gateway drug sense. Heath slows things down with a sunset-fence-sitting country tune, "Someone in Heaven,” that’s a really sweet, final goodbye to his mother. As you can see, death is a bit of an inside talker on this, the Heat’s eighth original studio album. From outside the gates, what strikes home is the understated simplicity and technical mastery of this nearly 20-year band’s fusion of rock, blues and country. The accompanying CD, especially the doc about the band, is worth the price of admission alone. Revival’s a throwback, a genre tribute, sure, but an enjoyable one worth cranking on your way to the rumble. (Yep Roc)