JON McClure towers over a mixing desk in his modest Stag Works studio off London Road. This small, soundproofed haven has been his and Reverend and the Makers’ guitarist Ed Cosen’s home for months.
And tonight, McClure’s particularly excitable – he’s unveiling tracks from his forthcoming album, @reverend_makers – an electro pop blast of dance-floor fillers.
“Can you play the Facebook track, Ed?” he asks with uncontained enthusiasm. Ed obliges and plays a track packed with McClure’s signature singing rap, fast phrasing and cutting observations.
“This is about a girl who only puts good pictures of herself on Facebook and makes her mates look really ropey next to her. It’s about not seeing the warts and all in people when they’re too vain to put anything bad up.”
The track booms – a return to Reverend and the Makers’ true form. “It could be another Heavyweight Champion of the World,” says McClure.
“I felt like I’d gone too serious with the last album – you get sick of yourself but after a holiday I started to have a laugh again. I still believe in all the politics but that doesn’t mean to say it has to appear on an album. I loved my history teacher but I wouldn’t want to live with him.”
And, in accordance with McClure’s revelation, the band’s forthcoming album is positively removed from politics. It’s fun, wild and party-like. “It’s not a Guardian-reading, eating hummus-with-a-spoon album – I don’t even like hummus that much .”
He plays another track, Shine the Light, a euphoric festival track with sharp lyrics: “I had two words for my boss and one of them was ‘off’,” sings McClure. Musically, the track – as with all the tracks on the forthcoming album – oscillates between intricate musicality, thanks to Cosen’s guitar parts and the bassy beats. “You can just imagine this one – everyone would have their arms in the air. It would be fantastic live with the right lights.”
“This album’s about going out and getting f***d,” says McClure. “It’s funny. I’ve found my funny bone again.” But Reverend and the Makers’ return to its live-for-the-weekend pop has been a long time coming. It’s almost been three years since the band released A French Kiss in the Chaos. In that three-year recording hiatus McClure was busy with Reverend Soundsystem and Mongrel hip-hop album.
Now is the time, however, according to McClure. “Everything about this album is right. We’ve got 25,000 new Facebook fans and everyone’s behind us. There’s a nice little vibe going on.”
The band is also supporting Noel Gallagher throughout his UK High Flying Birds tour.
“Noel asked us to support him and we were delighted, we were just chatting one day and he brought it up. He is such a nice bloke.”
The support slot means that Reverend and the Makers are able to roadtest their material to thousands of people before the album has gone to press. “It’s almost done anyway,” says McClure “But it will be brilliant to play it live.”
The album will be released on Cooking Vinyl, which is also the label for such diverse acts as Marilyn Manson and the Prodigy. “They’re great,” says McClure. “They properly get what the album’s about and are really keen on the track, The Wrestler.”
Some of its tracks are being mixed by Gorillaz star Jason Cox. “We’ve been sending the tracks over to them and they’ve been tweaking them, it’s good having different people doing different things on it. It’s all good.”
And, even if just a fraction of McClure’s giddiness comes across in the album, Reverend and the Makers will be on to a good thing. Perhaps this year the Sheffield act will once again reign in the ring.
Reverend and the Makers support Noel Gallagher at Sheffield Arena on Sunday and the album will be released this summer.