Vodka Context

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Everlounge is led by Don Dazzo, former lead vocalist of the seminal '80s New Jersey indie rock band the Whirling Dervishes. On Vodka Context, Everlounge, like the Dervishes, employs an extremely wide stylistic palette, but instead emphasizes the inherent Vegas-esque qualities of Dazzo's baritone voice by framing the vocals with upright bass, vibraphone, horns, jazzy guitar, and "exotica" percussion. Unlike straight lounge revivalists such as Combustible Edison, who basically re-create the sounds made famous by Martin Denny and Esquivel, Everlounge uses the genre as a jumping off point for Dazzo's enigmatic and often hilarious explorations of suburban pop culture. With song titles like "Shikse Girl" and "Minivan Lovers," it's quickly apparent that the listener is in for something equal parts Acker Bilk and Frank Zappa. Although Dazzo's writing is occasionally self indulgent and could benefit from some editing, the clever spots outnumber the silly stuff, and the band is adept at everything from fake big band swing to fake Italian wedding music. Naturally, though (considering the source), all the tunes are played with rock energy and Dazzo's voice is in fine form throughout.

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