Home Read Stray Cats | 40

Stray Cats | 40

They can still rock this town. But the runaway boys aren't built for speed anymore.

WHO ARE THEY? The tall-quiffed, ink-stained neo-rockabilly rebels fronted by singer-guitarist Brian Setzer, flanked by bassist Lee Rocker and standup drummer (not to mention onetime husband of Britt Ekland) Slim Jim Phantom.

WHAT IS THIS? Their first new studio album in 27 years, released to coincide with a 40th-anniversary reunion tour.

WHAT DOES IT SOUND LIKE? Like a slightly older, slightly slower and slightly more sedate version of the band behind their unbridled, scream-laced ’80s hits. Or to put it another way: They can still rock this town. But they aren’t built for speed anymore.

HOW SHOULD I LISTEN TO IT? While cruising to the drive-in (or at least the drive-thru) in your vintage car, with your hair piled high and your baby just looking so right in a poodle skirt.

WHAT 10 WORDS DESCRIBE IT? Retro, rambunctious, rollicking, fun-loving, energetic, brash, swaggering, playful, unvarnished, authentic.

WHAT ARE THE BEST SONGS? Opener Cat Fight (Over a Dog Like Me) recaptures the rough ’n’ tumble hijinks of their youth, though hotwired ravers like When Nothing’s Going Right, Mean Pickin’ Mama and I’ll Be Looking Out For You aren’t far behind — though the entire disc joyfully harkens back to the glory days of Sun rockabilly.

WHAT WILL MY FRIENDS AND FAMILY THINK? ‘Is rockabilly really coming back yet again — and if so, is there anything we can do to stop it?’

HOW OFTEN WILL I LISTEN TO THIS? For two weeks before and after they play in your town.

IF THIS ALBUM WERE A CAR, WHAT KIND OF CAR WOULD IT BE? A PT Cruiser with flames painted on the side.

SHOULD I BUY, STREAM OR STEAL? Buy — but only on vinyl.

Previous articleMavis Staples | We Get By
Next articleThe Waterboys | Where the Action Is