It's been a few years since John Mclure and his reverent bunch crashed into the mainstream's consciousness on the coattails of fellow Sheffield indie scamps the Arctic Monkeys; however, whereas Alex Turner's caustic, idiosyncratic lyrics seared and endeared himself to the entire country, (before the world), Reverend et al's kitchen-sink dialogue married with nursery rhyme melodies failed to successfully achieve the North-South crossover.
'No Soap (In A Dirty War)' certainly is an improvement upon the bands' last offerings, as they seem to be taking song writing and production a little more seriously; who can remember the cringing vocal to 'He Said He Loved Me'? (It actually sounded as if it was recorded at a chippy after a night out on the lash...by the owner of the chippy).
McClure's idiosyncratic voice is high in the mix, as he talks of a 'free ride on a guilt trip'; his lyrics have always been a stumbling block, as, essentially, he sings in the manner of a man who left school early. Not since Tupac rhymed 'elementary' with 'penitentiary' has there been a more hilarious rhythmic coupling than, “Nobody likes a martyr love, so leave it Martin Luther”, proving that whatever lyrical sensibility that McClure was taking seriously is now up in smoke...however, it is the fact that he clearly isn't trying too hard that actually rescues the song from the depths of dread that previous outputs like 'Heavyweight Champion Of The World' are now languishing in.
Perhaps, like Peter Kay's brand of 'reet Northern' humour, Reverend and the Makers are a band that are destined to be forever championed by their hometowns, yet in a stroke of irony, somehow their brutal simplicity is not understood by the masses. Well, if Phoenix Nights is ever reprised, the rest of us can relax in the knowledge that we could recommend the perfect house band...