Before you get any Catholic jokes in your dirty minds, I have an admission to make: Reverend Horton Heat took my psychobilly cherry in the back of the House of Blues on Sunset in 1996. A good friend invited me to the show and I have to say, I never knew it could be like this.

Their set, three hours of ear-bleedin’ madness, blew my mind to smithereens. I was in such an excited daze that I rushed out to purchase Liquor in the Front and It’s Martini Time soon thereafter. Then I learned that all honeymoons must end with some tired sounds on Space Heater and Spend a Night in the Box, not to mention a completely unnecessary best-of album – any good Reverend fan already had all the songs on the best-of.

Which brings me to Lucky 7. Upon first seeing the album, I approached it with trepidation, but eventually all those familiar yearnings came back and I had to have a listen. While nothing can bring back the feelings and desires of my long-lost youth, Lucky 7 proves that the relationship is still worthwhile. It turns out that the Rev weren’t cheating on me in Space Heater, where they experimented a bit with their sound, veering away from the fast, fun madness into artsier ambience. Nor were they unfaithful during Spend a Night in the Box, where they played with a country boogie sound so clean that Fatkid thought frontman Jim Heath had quit smoking.

Well, the art is back but it’s been refined this time around, as evident in the two instrumentals, “Duel At The Two O’Clock Bell” and “Show Pony,” which could easily become the soundtrack to a nouveau spaghetti western. More importantly, the energy is back – Heath himself says, “[It’s] time to get back to chainsaw distortion.”

And the camp humor, while never dead, is back in full effect. If you’re looking to rekindle your relationship with the Rev – or if you feel like the Rev’s been cheatin’ on ya, just remember: “You’ve Got a Friend in Jimbo.”

[The Yellow Menace has never had such a strong urge for a boilermaker.]