Music review: Stray Cats - ‘40’

The same cat class and cat style featured on earlier releases by the Stray Cats can be witnessed on the trio’s first album of original material since 1992.

Aptly titled “40,” the new release celebrates the band’s 40th anniversary as guitarist and frontman Brian Setzer, bassist Lee Rocker and drummer Slim Jim Phantom reunite to deliver 12 tracks of rockabilly rowdiness straight out of the 1950s.

The claws come out and the fur is flying right from the start as “Cat Fight (Over a Dog Like Me)” opens the festivities with a retro flair and hints of classic artists such as Carl Perkins, Gene Vincent and Eddie Cochran.

For those feeling a bit under the weather, “Rock It Off” offers up a rousing rock ’n’ roll prescription for what ails you with Setzer declaring, “Turn up that guitar/Slap that stand-up bass/Be sure to get them speakers/Right up in your face.”

The instrumental “Desperado” possesses the intrigue of the vintage spaghetti westerns, fitting in perfectly as part of the soundtrack for classic Clint Eastwood movies like “Fistful of Dollars,” “For a Few Dollars More” and “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.”

Tracks such as “I’ve Got Love if You Want It” and “Cry Danger” feature blazing guitar work that highlights Setzer’s enthusiastic vocals.

“Three Time’s a Charm” is a toe-tapping tune that inspires flashbacks to the days when dancing up a storm at the local burger joint as the jukebox shakes the room was just a normal part of a teenager’s daily routine.

“I Attract Trouble” and “I’ll Be Looking Out for You” are cool little numbers that give off a hint of adventure and danger that can be found on any given Saturday night.

“Devil Train” brings the spirited set to an ominous close as Phantom’s drumming keeps pace with Setzer’s gritty guitar riffs on a tale about not being afraid to take a walk on the wild side.

It’s certainly good to have these three cool cats back making new music and once again strutting their stuff as they rock the town with a confident swagger.

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