Savage satire – and top tunes – from Sheffield motormouth

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Score 3

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Reverend And The Makers – The State Of Things

Like their pals, [b]Arctic Monkeys[/b], Reverend And The Makers are another Sheffield sensation whose rise was precipitated by word-of-mouth wonder and MP3 demo sharing, leading to the band – a vehicle for 25-year-old manic street preacher and local hero [b]Jon McClure[/b] – selling out a 1,000-capacity hometown venue long before they’d signed a deal. McClure, an agreeably unhinged frontman and nifty wordsmith, spins colourful tales of humdrum living in his South Yorkshire accent. His ear for detail and provocative delivery recall veteran Manchester punk-poet [b]John Cooper Clarke[/b], who, it turns out, is McClure’s mentor.

While McClure’s message is essentially the same as [b]Alex Turner[/b]’s – McClure tends to be more sympathetic towards his hapless characters – Reverend And The Makers’ medium is, perhaps surprisingly, groovy electro-funk with a gleaming pop sheen. If you’ve heard the Makers’ hit, anthemic rat race rant “Heavyweight Champion Of The World”, you’ll know their blend of [b]Black Grape[/b] boogie and [b]Kaiser Chiefs[/b]-sized choruses is a boisterous no-brainer.

Like a disco medley of [b]Little Britain[/b] sketches, this floor-filling formula is repeated a number of times on ‘The State Of Things’: on “He Said He Loved Me” (about unwanted pregnancy), “Bandits” (fruit machine scammers), and “The Machine” (daily office drift). So far, so [b]Carter USM[/b], but what keeps the album sounding alive is the sheer force of McClure’s personality. In each song there’s a sparkling line or two. “Once he’d been in your knickers, the rows and the bickers didn’t matter so much anymore”, he sings on “Sex With The Ex”, later remembering, “A chance encounter with one I love so dearly… A free ride on a guilt trip”. Even the rotten cod-reggae of “Sundown On The Empire” becomes tolerable. Ultimately, the record is a tribute to McClure’s charisma and unswerving self-belief. A pop star who doesn’t mind looking a bit stupid is always good to have around.

PIERS MARTIN