Sleek and punchy, with all cylinders firing at once, the orchestra's new album Vavoom! ups the ante on 1998's Grammy-winner, The Dirty Boogie. Given the success of the last recording, which sold in the seven digits, the six-string slinger was in a position to do pretty much whatever he wanted this time out. So rather than leaning on a lot of tried-and-true cover tunes, Setzer wrote more than a half-dozen originals and amped up a few choice standards.
On the mega-popular, swing-era instrumental "In the Mood," Setzer adds Chuck Berry-inspired verses -- "Jump into my rocket/ 'Cause I'm ready to blast/ I don't know where I'm goin'/ But I'm goin' there fast" -- and a too-brief rap break. Fresh lyrics and high-flying jump 'n' jive arrangements give "Pennsylvania 6-5000" and "Americano" (which you may recognize from The Talented Mr. Ripley) a heightened party-till-dawn glow. Then there are the yowling, classic Brian Setzer themes -- "If You Can't Rock Me," "Drive Like Lightning (Crash Like Thunder)" -- complete with raucous Gretsch leads and a super-hot brass section. It's the kind of Stray Cat swing that never goes out of style.