The Stray Cats strut back into action with their first album in 26 years and it couldn’t have come at a better time. In recent years rockabilly has had another revival (some would say it never went away). Go to any rock festival and you’ll see merch stands awash with a nod to the 1950s sartorial style and you don't have to look too far to find younger bands like The Zipheads and The Delta Bombers twanging the double bass with as much ferocity as Steve Harris. When the Stray Cats first hit the charts they could share the diverse bill with punk, new romantic, metal and bubblegum pop but as the hard rock and rock n' roll have been forced back out of mainstream musical society and replaced with lackluster generic pop, it makes sense that these musical renegades unite to take on the world once more.
The bluesier dynamics come to the fore instantly on Cat Fight (Over a Dog Like Me). The drums and bass provide the big dance hall sound that will have hips shaking, knee's a knocking before the end of the first bar. Brian Seltzer's self assured vocals sound as good as ever as he alternates from a rocky Johnny Cash style twang on Devil Train to a crooning rock n' roll hero on Mean Pickin' Mama. When Nothing's Going Right retains the drive of their earlier work but with added pearls of wisdom that come with age 'when nothing's going right, go left.' Instrumental track Desperado has the kick of a post punk Dick Dale meets Urge Overkill; it certainly wouldn't look out of place in a Tarantino soundtrack.
The tongue in cheek rock n' roll lyrics and school boy charm remain on tracks like Rock Angel with just shy of corny lines like, 'I thought I found a future with a girl that had a past'. I Attract Trouble and Rock It Off continue to draw out the fun in a characteristically uptempo way. It's a reminder that despite being away from the charts, rockabilly is still cool for cats.
Groupie Rating 3/5