Social commentary.

Setting out the albums path with the line "I'm the Reverend and I'll tell you about the state of things" its no surprise to hear that the album is choc full of kitchen-sink dramas, of grubby everyday life and the humdrum monotony that derails the dreams of the average kid growing up. Obviously this sort of songwriting is the fashion at the moment, a lot of this down to the spectre of the Sheffield scamps, the Arctic Monkeys. That said, Sheffield did give us Jarvis Cocker, another expert in tales of life for common people so perhaps its more down to the city than the simian act. Its also worth noting that Alec Turner probably took as much influence and ideas from the Reverend as opposed to the new band following in their wake. For these reasons, its impossible to separate this record from the idea of the Arctic Monkeys.

Second track 'The Machine' features guest vocals from young Mr. Turner, providing his unique style of sneering vocals but peppering over a more electronic backing than people would associate with him. In simple terms, Reverend And The Makers combine the storytelling of the Monkeys with a musical backing that owes more to the Happy Mondays. Theres a funky and loose feel to the album, which at times sparkles and at others, merely exists. Which is pretty much the same as the lives of the people that the Reverend is trying to encapsulate.

By now, its likely you'll have heard 'Heavyweight Champion of the World' and your opinion will be made up on it. For what its worth, for this writer, its been one of the tracks of the summer, a summer that hasnt thrown up much in the way of definining musical moments, but a definite highlight none the less. A rammed tent at T in the Park with the entire crowd bouncing and bellowing "Be like everbody else" at the songs climax was uplifting and the recorded version is just as exciting and dramatic. The lyrics could hint at a bitterness at what life could have been but its delivered in such an emphatic style, its difficult not to be swept away with the energy and passion contained within.

And when you have a song of such charisma, the rest of the output can feel a bit overshadowed at times and this definitely curses the record. The album has had a few critical kickings from certain quarters and this seems a bit harsh as theres nothing of poor quality, just perhaps an over-familiarity by the end of the album. 'Bandits' , that follows 'Heavyweight...' centres around the glory of the pub puggies and the harshness of life when money is tight and the need to gamble, isnt a bad wee tune but it does feel like a comedown compared to what went beforehand. When listened to in isolation, the song works well and this could be said for many of the songs. 'Open Your Window' starts with a dublike echo and MC'ed vocals and theres not many acts in the UK who are commercialy active that would go down this route and it ties in with the image of the Reverend being the focal point and spreading his message to the masses

The question to ask is are we in need of another album of social commentary, dissecting British culture and our lives? In answer to that, if its done well, then the desire for the record is unlikely to diminish, the culture in the UK at the moment is extremely voyeur-based, reality TV shows and such-like seems to drive the nation and the thought of what our neighbours are up to is the chief thought for many. This album is the equivalent of curtian-twitching and like their comprades, the band have looked around them at their environment and broadcast it to the world and in doing so, have created a strong body of work. 'He Said He Loved Me', the recent single, could well have been taken from any episode of Trisha or Jeremy Kyle and while there is a grubbiness to the story, thats life for many. Musically, the song bubbles away neatly and whilst it lacks the killer chorus of the albums main track, it drives quickly and is a decent addition.

Theres only one moment that truly stands out but the rest of the album is competent, it would probably sound better without the one monumental high. As debuts go, its a welcome start and hopefully The Reverend and The Makers will return with a bit more meat to add the bones.