Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Reverend Beat Man and the New Wave - BluesTrash

The good Reverend was once in the Swiss lo-fi garage rock'n'roll combo the Monsters, and then he was converted to Lightnin' Beat Man before finding religion as the Reverend Beat Man at the turn of the century. Since then he has worked more or less as a one-man-band, although often with the help of various cohorts. On this record his current touring partner, Nicole Izobel Garcia appears on keys and vocals, along with other friends such as Mario Batkovic (accordion and other various instruments), Resli Burri (assorted keyboard instruments) and Julian Sartorius (on drums, when the Rev decides not to play).

Blues Trash is an appropriate title and description for the record - although the sound is not as trashy and lo-fi as some previous efforts (in fact, the fidelity if pretty damn good, even if the playing can be purposefully trashy). The songs range from simple'n'raw blues ("I Have Enough" - great guitar work - and the ferocious "I'm Not Gonna Tell You") to exotic, Tom Waits-y, twisted ballads ("Today Is a Beautiful Day") to bouncy, Gypsy-sounding accordion numbers ("I'll Do It For You") back to primitive, howlin' blues ("The White Wolf Is Back in Town" - with crazed guitar, wailin' sax and organ).

Nicole sings a ballad in Spanish with just the Rev backing her on guitar that could easily fit in on either a Tarantino or Lynch movie ("But I Love You"), there's more Waits-ian atmospheric-ness in "You Are on Top", another hip blues in "If I Knew" (one he played at the show the other night, that built nicely with his looper effect pedal and Nicole's keys), the harmonium/ accordion combo gives a properly solemn feel to "Then We All Gonna Die", "Love Is Simply a Dream" starts off utterly sparse and builds in noise and intensity, "Looking Right Through" has a weird, repetitive backing loop with a wonderful cacophony assembled on top of it, and the closer, "Lass Uns Liebe Machen", Beat Man sings in his native language with accordion and saw backing him, sounding like something you would hear in a local, old-fashioned tavern (or a David Lynch movie!).

After experiencing the magic'n'magesty of the Reverend's live show and now immersing myself in this record, as well, I am a convert to the Beat Man religion! Be sure to see him if he comes to your town and pick up whatever you can from this man's long, illustrious career!