North London guitar band The Reverse announce the release of their new album Which Way Out on 24 April via Blang Records, and share the album opening track ‘Crush My Chest With Your Hate’, a furious reverb drenched and darkly caustic song lamenting a culture of hate and envy that has led to the dehumanisation of refugees, and the disturbing rise of the far-right.
‘Crush My Chest With Your Hate’ is a befitting taster for Which Way Out, which the band describe as an album influenced “by the personal and the political with more than a little darkness but also plenty of humour.” The Reverse’s sound is a an urgent and literate style of indie-rock that’s been likened to “Belle and Sebastian meets Pulp meets Lloyd Cole,” with a dark and twisted nod to Britpop’s more irreverently humoured acts such as David Devant & His Spirit Wife and The Auteurs; a hint of post-punk in the Wire-esque chugging guitar riffs; and touches of both the gothic and alt-folk.
Which Way Out was recorded whilst the band performed together in order to capture the essence of their live sets, with the album moving through energetic rock songs to more delicate acoustic laments, offering nuanced tone shifts through emotional and stylistic ranges. Frontman and lyricist Nathan Loughran’s delivery veers from anger and sarcasm to vulnerability and compassion, unsurprising with influences including iconic purveyors of the raw and laid bare truth, such as Leonard Cohen and Bob Dylan.
The sardonic album track ‘Nobody Likes You, Everybody Hates You’ explores all that divides us in increasingly binary terms, with a deliciously darkly humoured swipe at everyone from The Sun newspaper through to Jeremy Kyle. Whilst ‘Abstract Heart’- one of DJ Gary Crowley’s top songs of the year on BBBC Radio London – is another heavier rock-edged track, an anti-love song narrating the broken people destroyed by the less-than-perfect reality of the romantic dream, played out to a backdrop of chugging Wire-esque riffs.
Then there’s the classic British observational song-writing on songs such as ‘Nothing on Telly’ which offers a kind of kitchen-sink storytelling realism worthy of Pulp. Whilst tracks like ‘Kill Us All’ recall the aforementioned 90’s band The Auteurs with its tongue in cheek misanthropy (“You seem nice, you talk a lot but I don’t need new friends when I hate the ones I’ve got” – ‘Kill Us All’).
Then there are the album’s more fragile and naked moments with ‘A Vague Arrangement’ and ‘Skimming Stones’, offering Nathan Loughran’s standard laid bare honesty but laced with a gentler, more compassionate touch – and the appearance of Teresa Kelly’s delicate vocal. The songs explore the vulnerability of falling in love and the fragility of the human existence, offering up a softer side to The Reverse and another shade in Which Way Out’s many nuances.
Which Way Out is probably best described as an album realistically reflecting human existence in today’s troublesome times, with an unafraid exploration of dark subject matter, but also of life’s flickering and hopeful warm light.
- Crush My Chest With Your Hate
- Which Way Out
- Nothing On Telly
- Abstract Heart
- A Vague Arrangement
- Kind Eyes
- Nobody Likes You, Everybody Hates You
- Skimming Stones
- Kill Us All
- The Day Before We Died
- The Stars Were A Mess
The Reverse have previously performed at festivals such as Great Escape and Standon Calling, and supported the likes of The Wave Pictures. On 23 April they perform at Servant Jazz Quarters, London to mark the album release:
23 April at Servant Jazz Quarters, London