Kid Creole & the Coconuts

I Wake Up Screaming

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Just like last time out, the sticker on the outside reads "First new studio album in 10 years!," but this time August Darnell’s revival of his Kid Creole persona is a winning return to form with none of the forced fun of 2001’s Too Cool to Conga! Here the smart part of the Kid’s humor is played up, and the audience is eased into it with the surprisingly small “Stony and Cory,” an intimate and welcome example of the group’s "Cab Calloway in post-punk N.Y.C." style. The title track brings even more memories as Darnell borrows the hook from his own “Ticket to the Tropics” -- a composition he gave away to ZE Records artist and cold chanteuse Cristina -- while supremely stylized love songs (“Long Live the King”), tasty cocktail salsa cuts (“Verily Verily Verily”), and flashy, showy tracks (“Attitude”) all combine in that classic Coconuts fashion, offering what might be their best full-length effort since 1982’s Tropical Gangsters. The Kid’s voice has aged, lowered, and mellowed, but otherwise you’d think this witty genre-spanning, time-jumping collection of tropical kitsch and too-cool nostalgia came from the group’s golden era.

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