Felix and the Buzzcats
Felix and the Buzzcats have it all. The CD is decorated with a leopard-print backdrop, the word “cat” is used as third-person references, there’s a mention of rockabilly, a Louis Prima cover, plenty ooh’s and aah’s, song structures made specifically for “hipsters” in zoot-suits to swing to, and at least three songs about dancing. Somebody apparently did their homework. Why, then, am I about to completely can them?
There’s absolutely nothing TO this record. The album’s producer wrote the majority of the songs, and the band was obviously put together in a quick haste in order to make a quick buck off this whole “swing thing.” You can hear it in everything the band tried to put together: the musicianship is downright sad, with horn lines not at all tight, painfully uninspired solos that do nothing more than climb scales, most tunes follow a strict blues format, and the lyrics sound painfully like they’re just there to rhyme. Felix and the Buzzcats don’t even try to stick to one genre, shooting their cannons off in all the directions that they just shouldn’t. For Christ’s sake, there’s a watery version of Dean Martin’s “Cha Cha D’amore” on here! And then there’s Prima’s “5 Months, 2 Weeks, 2 Days,” which I’ve heard done a million times better by a high school jazz band.
Shall I even mention “Long Way to Memphis,” a first-person tribute coming from the cheapest Elvis impersonator I’ve ever heard? Then, after all is said and done, insult is just added to injury with a hidden track covering the Felix the Cat theme song. The majority of this catastrophe is swing-oriented, however. Enough so to make Benny Goodman turn over in his grave. The only reason I could ever understand someone picking this album up is if they’re going for a collection of the worst records ever. And even then, I’d consider it a bit of a stretch.
Prom Records, 88 S. Francis St., Newark, NJ 07105