Marketed as a “guitar pop buzz” band, London’s Rev78 wisely stick to a streamlined debut record; packing ten songs in to a hook-heavy and concise thirty seven minutes. In their armoury they have a true frontman but do they have the songs?
‘Killing Me’ is a decent opening and gives us the first opportunity to hear the angsty choirboy vocals of Teddy Quick, even if the guitar riffing is of a strictly generic post-Britpop variety. However, any accusations of ordinariness should be shelved for second track ‘Old Fashioned’. Here the guitar melodies chime and dissipate into vapour trails whilst Quick serves up aching vulnerabilia in the verses and controlled anguish for the chorus. It’s a great moment but the London band don’t scale such heights again until the end of the album. That’s when we get another quality “slowie” called ‘Lullaby’, where the group prove they’re not the great British guitar act they’ve been marketed as but an outfit who seem more suited to quiet, reflective music. Similarly, last track ‘Every Bone’ piles on the melancholia with winning results.
Elsewhere, the group resemble a less aggressive version of Puressence, gamely trying to prove their rock credentials but ending up sounding like too many guitar bands before them. At its worst, ‘Kiss Me’ will probably win favour with ladies at the front row of their gigs but the tune is wafer-thin. ‘Harrier’, however, is more convincing as the quartet add a brittle edge to their stadium-friendly sound.
As is often the case with a first album, Rev78 seem to be trying too hard to please different demographics, with their direction caught halfway between Coldplay hand-wringing and Manics’ epic rock. Next time they would be best advised to concentrate on creating an album rather than a collection of singles but they show enough talent here to suggest they’re in for the long haul.
Puressence, Black Soul Strangers