Swingtips must be amazing live. They undoubtably put on a stage
show that's completely over the top, with blaring horns and full
throttle vocals. That's the impression one gets from listening
to Roswell (Ghost Note Music), the latest release from
the Phoenix-based combo (which Tower Records has called "One
of the hottest original swing bands in the U.S."). Unfortunately,
translated onto a CD, their energy and eclecticism at times comes
off as too much camp, too little musicianship.
never been one for concept albums, so the premise of Roswellaliens
landing in the desert in search of good swingwas already
lost on me. The narrator explains the scenario in the opening
title track, which is followed by a lovely little Charleston ditty
called "Cantina Band." The rest of the album is a mish-mosh
of musical genres, from the tropical "Limbo" to the
theme from James Bond and "Chupacabra Cha Cha."
A couple of numbers stand out as eminently swingable, most notably
"Sam the Clam" and the closing track, "Goodbye,
Goodbye." Singer Kregg Barantine also turns in a stellar
performance throughout. If you have a taste for retro kitsch and
musical diversity, then Roswell may very well be for you.
But if you prefer something more consistent, you may want to look
the band online at www.swingtips.com.