Album of the week

Album review: The Revival Hour, Scorpio Little Devil (Antiphon)

4.00

Devilishly good tunes as pride beats prejudice

John-Mark Lapham and DM Stith both grew up gay in stifling environments – Lapham in the right-wing Texas town of Abilene, Stith within a puritanical Wesleyanist cult –so there's a certain poetic justice in the success of their collaboration as The Revival Hour. Previously best known as a member of Manchester band The Earlies, Stith was hunting for a voice to front his new soundscapes, and when he came across Lapham's earlier work realised he need look no further. Following last year's "Clusterchord" EP, Scorpio Little Devil brings the project to fruition with a series of songs transmuting the collective struggle and desire of their upbringing into exotic musical creations.

Like John Grant, another Midwestern gay escapee, their music seethes with excitement at both the lush melodrama of Sixties pop icons like Dusty Springfield and Roy Orbison, and the electronic pioneers of the Eighties. At its simplest, "Copperhouse" surrounds Stith's demonic keening with a buzz-burr of cycling synths; at its most luxurious, "Hold Back" blends piano triplets, burring horns and sleek strings with Stith's ecstatic falsetto for a full symphonic-soul sweep of emotion.

Elsewhere, Stith's vocal is chased by an ungodly collusion of drums, bass, marimba and howling wind noise through "Run Away", while "I Swear I'm Clean" features his hysterical falsetto promise assailed by dubstep electro bass and cycling synth sequence, with guitar and organ deepening the darkness.

There's a sustained undercurrent throughout the album, of pressure meeting resistance, in tracks like the nightmarish "Eyed the Beast" and the gorgeous "Control", with its canvas of smeared strings, puttering celesta and skittering beats as the backdrop to Stith's protesting "struggle for my own control – I want out". But it's a situation viewed from other aspects too, as with the preacher portrayed in "Pyre", the dreamlike trilling piano and rasping sax soundtracking his pleas to "dump all your friends and come with me".

Fortunately for us, it's worked out the other way round, with friendship enabling beauty to rear its lovely head above the wall of prejudice.

Download: Hold Back; Control; I Swear I'm Clean

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

    Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

    Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
    Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

    Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

    When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
    5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

    In grandfather's footsteps

    5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
    Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

    Martha Stewart has flying robot

    The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
    Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

    Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

    Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
    A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

    A tale of two presidents

    George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
    Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

    The dining car makes a comeback

    Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
    Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

    Gallery rage

    How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
    Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

    Eye on the prize

    Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
    Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

    Women's rugby

    Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup
    Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

    The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

    With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
    Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

    How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

    As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
    We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

    We will remember them

    Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
    Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

    Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

    Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
    Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

    Acting in video games gets a makeover

    David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices