lovely Nicole Kestler breathily leads an inspired reading
of the standard "Fever," halfway through the
Rhythm Rockets' latest release, Take Off, she could
melt an iceberg in the dead of winter. This is my professional
opinion and I'm sticking to it.
suppose the rest of the Chicago-based septet has their
charms as well. The Rockets have obviously patterned themselves
after the jump blues bands of the '40s and '50s, and those
roots are reflected in tight, sax-driven arrangements
on "Pachuko Hop," and "Tina's Cantina,"
as well as a superb reading of Big Bill Broonzy's "Trouble
In Mind." With three sax players as well as guitars,
piano and drums backing up Kestler's steamy vocals, the
band can switch from fat blues thumpers to smoky standards
in a heartbeat.
there are also some inspired excursions here, particularly
Andy Blanco's originals like "Shuffle of the Damned,"
which would be perfectly at home backing up shadow dancers
in New Orleans. Blanco also composed "Vampire of
Love," a clever and well-written song portraying
one of the grand femme fatales of the world.
The Rhythm Rockets bring a rich blend of influences that
build a fine foundation for the septet's obvious plethora
of talent. Sweet home Chicago, indeed.