Friday, October 9, 2020

Reverse - Empty Spaces LP - Blue Vinyl


Boss Tuneage (2020)

Even just a few years ago, if you had told me that in 2020 one of the best albums of the year would have been put out by Reverse, I don't think I could have possibly believed you.  It's not that I would have any doubt that they would be capable of writing one of the best records, I would have just been in shock that it actually happened.

Back in the 90s, Reverse released three 7"s and a split 7" with Exit Condition.  These songs along with the one from the Best Punk Rock In England comp were some of my very favorite of the era.  To this day I will put the song "Stagnant" up against anything that came out of that mid 90s UK scene.  It's one of the best of the best.  We never even got a full length Reverse album back then and the band was (at least to me being in America) somewhat mysterious. They cranked of four perfect singles and then vanished.

Now, luckily there has been action from the Reverse camp in the intervening years.  I took possession of one of their demo tapes that had songs that weren't on the singles (more on that later) and their singles were compiled on to the Glance Sideways CD along with some extra tracks by SP records in Japan.  A few years later came Chasing Ghosts, with more unreleased Reverse songs.  I may be mistaken here, but my impression was always that those were older songs and wasn't a proper new full length.  That said, it was incredible and I was happy to have more music by such a great band.  They also put out a new 7" last year.  I don't have that yet as it is sitting in a pile of records put aside for me by a friend in Japan that I haven't been able to get from him yet.  Pandemic and other issues being a key driver of that...

But now, somehow, miraculously, Reverse has a full length album of new songs in the year 2020.  This has been a shitty fucked up year, but Reverse putting out a new album takes just a a fraction of the sting away.  It sounds like it could have been released the week after their last 7" in the 90s.  A perfect blend of melody and punk rock.  This is such a quintessentially sounding UK punk record and I cannot get enough of it.  That scene with Snuff, Leatherface, Broccoli, Hooton 3 Car, Mega City Four, Chopper, Skimmer, Crocodile God, Donfisher and more was my favorite time and place in all of recorded music and this record is every bit as good as anything that came out back then.

The thing about Reverse that gets my more than anything is their complete and total mastery of the chorus.  This has always been the case.  You're listening to one of their songs and the verse is good to great and then they get to the chorus and the song blows your fucking mind.  That happens over and over and over on this record.  From opener "Empty Spaces" to "Opinions" to "Fire Flies" I am never not amazed when that chorus comes blasting in.

Another cool thing is to hear a newly recorded version of a song called "Missuser." Remember that demo tape I mentioned?  This was one of the songs on it that didn't also end up on the Glance Sideways comp.  It was really cool to hear it again in the context of a full album and it fits in perfectly.

Here I go writing way more than I expected to once again, but if you can't tell, when I get really excited about a record I tend to go on and on and on.  Well, I love this record.  It is one of the best two or three albums I have heard all year and the fact that it exists just makes the world a better place in my opinion.  Thank you Reverse, please make more records.

Reverse - Empty Spaces (Only the first two songs are streaming on Bandcamp):
https://bosstuneagerecords.bandcamp.com/album/empty-spaces

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