Reverend Horton Heat

There’s something to be said for punk-rockabilly guys who stay on the same train since the beginning—guys like the Reverend Horton Heat (a.k.a. Jim Heath), who specializes in psychobilly car tunes and recurring themes involving “whiskey, cigarettes, cats and dogs, cocaine, tequila, beer, pretty women, marijuana, sermons, the devil, Texas, more beer, and Jimbo.”

Straight from the opening track, the swamp-punk-blues party number “Loco Gringos Like a Party,” Lucky 7 proves to be one of the Reverend’s all-time best efforts, capturing the Dallas trio in all its runaway roadhouse glory on every track. Drummer Scott Churilla performs at blistering speeds beside bad-boy bassist Jimbo Wallace, whether playing electric bass or slapping the big stand-up like it got caught stealing money.

But it’s the Reverend himself whose sin-starched vocals and flaming guitar have never sounded more inspired. His entire philosophy is here: the car tunes ("Rev. Horton Heat’s Big Blue Car,” “Galaxy 500"), the scorching instrumentals ("Show Pony"), the tales of rejection ("Ain’t Gonna Happen") and the inspirational party numbers ("Like a Rocket")—all delivered with fire-and-brimstone sonic testimony.

As the Reverend says, “this is the most energetic batch of songs we’ve had since Liquor in the Front [Sub Pop, 1994]. Producer Ed Stasium really helped recapture that manic sound this time around. … We felt it was time to get back to chainsaw distortion." Amen to that.