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Rhythm & Views

The Brian Setzer Orchestra

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IF YOU DON'T like Vavoom!, the newest CD by the Brian Setzer Orchestra, go sit in the back row with the other scowling purists, feverishly hunched over their "authentic" swing and big band records. They wouldn't know fun if it bit them in the ass.

From the first scratched-LP notes of "Pennsylvania 6-5000" to the last, fading falsetto of the doo-wop chestnut "Gloria," Vavoom! is one of those rare pop recordings (like Exile on Main Street, Trout Mask Replica or London Calling) that is as close to perfection as you can get this side of heaven. Indeed, by the time you reach track 5, "Getting' In the Mood"--a hypnotic, hip-hop-icized reworking of the Glenn Miller classic--the less hardy may begin to suffer from pleasure-induced neural overload. If this happens, it is recommended that you take a five-minute break and drink some decaffeinated green tea in a darkened room. The rest of you: drive on!

The many strains of American music mined by Setzer's orchestra--swing, big band, rock, jazz--are well documented. The musical antecedents of each song, however, are of little importance. What matters is the manner in which Setzer seamlessly melds these various genres into a sonic scotch on the rocks that, for joyous musical exuberance, is absolutely irresistible. Vavoom! indeed.

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