Recorded in Los Angeles and London, it is an album brimming with belligerent punk ethos that often simmers over a ska backbone. Whilst both genres have their limitations Barât‘s emphatic lyrics and palpable intensity prevent the record from stagnating.
Over distorted ska chords that provide a regular foundation, the maudlin desperation of ‘Glory Days‘ is out of the blocks and promptly throttling us. The cockney vocals of Barât conjures up images of a thoroughly agitated Madness as the anthemic defiance of ‘Victory Gin‘ is soon in our face. “We are not afraid of anyone, I defy anyone to tell me I’m wrong” neatly summises the essence of punk rock tude. Horns jump on for the ride as this frenetic track gains further momentum towards it’s frantic conclusion.
The initial bombardment subsides somewhat with single ‘A Storm Is Coming“. Despite being about impending doom, it is one of the more pop orientated tracks and a logical choice for a single. It touches on religion, a theme that cascades over into the next track ‘Beginning To See‘. An album highlight, an acoustic guitar provides the soundtrack to some candid opinions on Christianity. With lines like “Why would someone threaten their sons and daughters with damnation and torture when they mean well?”, Barat pulls no punches in this far from subtle commentary. Somewhat ironically it is communicated over some of the album’s most gentle melodic sounds.
Through the latter portion of Let It Reign the intense delivery does not abate. The art of delivering a massive chorus is exemplified in ‘March Of The Idle‘ and ‘War Of The Roses‘ before we receive a ninety second slap in the face with ‘The Gears‘. Concise venomous punk then drops back unexpectedly into closer ‘Let It Rain‘, a jangly acoustic singalong that leaves us all with smiles on our faces.
This album’s strengths lie very much in the forthright lyricisms and scarely controlled rage with which they are unleashed. The band has a firm grasp of how to drill a meaty chorus into the listener’s cranium which is an important attribute in this kind of music. The acoustic tracks are strong too, adding a bit of variety and ensuring things never become dormant.