Brian_setzer-vavoom_span3
May 2001

Brian Setzer Orchestra
Vavoom!
Interscope Records

After '80s pop star Setzer watched his 1998 tattooed-swing album The Dirty Boogie go double-platinum and win a Grammy, the former Stray Cat knew he had finally found a gig to stick with. But for the much-anticipated follow-up, Vavoom!, the 40-year-old singer-guitarist and big-bad bandleader with the inked-up arms didn't just want to wail the same old song. So here, over the course of covering such classics as "Pennsylvania 6-5000" and "Mack the Knife," plus firing out eight hot-n-horny originals, Setzer limits his hammer-heavy rockabilly guitar solos to a woozy few and instead gives his swaggering band plenty of stand-and-sway time. This jazz-heavy product may not translate into bigger sales than that coming-out album, but it's definitely a more textured listen.

For the swingin'-'40s feel of Setzer original "Jumpin' East of Java" (the title of which was given to Setzer by Clash hero Joe Strummer), trumpet players Will Murillo, Kevin Norton, Kye Palmer and Kevin Richardson blow big and bossy and come close to bleeding out your eardrums. The bevy of female background singers-absent from the testosterone-fueled spectacle of The Dirty Boogie-purr throughout and add some slinky Andrews Sisters sass to the proceedings.

Sure, Setzer has always been a partying type of guy, and this is definitely a partying kind of album. But by digging around in the swing time of yesteryear, the talent-rich Setzer has realized he can do a whole lot more than simply rock this town.

Originally published in May 2001
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