Saturday, May 25, 2019

Album Review: Stray Cats - 40

The Stray Cats are back with a new record and it's like the past 27 years never happened. In fact it's like nothing happened after 1960. The boys are still dispensing vintage rockabilly like Cliff Gallup was still  playing with Gene Vincent. In fact that era informs their whole aesthetic, from their clothes and haircuts to lyrics subject matters. Of course, we've heard it all before but it's a treat hearing that formula again after all these years: a Spartan, swinging rhythm section, twangy riffs and lightning-fast guitar solos.
At 35 minutes, the record doesn't have time to feel redundant even if the material is stronger on the first half. Furious opener Cat Fight (Over a Dog Like Me) is a great starter, unfortunately none of the other songs match its intensity. Cry danger, with its almost heavy metal approach, comes close but sadly the rest of the material feels like generic, by-numbers Stray Cats.

Brian Setzer's playing is more virtuosic than ever, his decades playing with his Orchestra having taken his chops and sense of phrasing to new heights. His voice is also stronger than it's ever been, having matured into an expressive instrument that growls and croons with equal fervour.

Although they've staged several live reunions in the past, this time feels a little more real since they've recorded new music. Sure, nothing on this LP is on the level of Rock This Town or (She's) Sexy + 17 but the performances, the humor and the joy of hearing them play together again after so long is enough to make this album a pleasant listen. Hopefully it won't take another generation until we hear from them again.

Genre: Rock n' Roll 
Release Date: May 24th, 2019
Label: Surfdog Records
Rating: 6/10

No comments:

Post a Comment

Feel free to comment on this post: