Poker Dots

Cocktail Swing

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The Poker Dots' debut album, Cocktail Swing, reflects the U.K. group's love of doo wop, rock & roll, and vocal pop groups from the early and mid-'50s, such as the Crew Cuts and the Platters, as well as jazz influences such as Django Reinhardt. Unlike many groups charting the same territory, the Poker Dots approach their material with no irony whatsoever, and their tight performances and smooth harmonies make them sound like some lost British pop combo from 1955, were it not for the modern cleanliness of the production. The fact that none of the songs they perform on Cocktail Swing dates from past 1960 adds to their throwback quality; fortunately, though, their versions of songs like "C'Mon a My House," "All of Me," and "Beyond the Sea (La Mer)" don't sound like they were done just for novelty's sake. Indeed, the Poker Dots have a reverence for their influences, and for these songs, that almost borders on facelessness, and at times Cocktail Swing sounds like an unusually clean recording of a live band playing at a social from the mid-'50s (although that certainly has its charms, too). However, paradoxically, it's this straightforward, nearly generic approach that makes the Poker Dots distinctive, since many '50s revivalists tend to sound campy, intentionally or otherwise. Cocktail Swing presents a band that serves the songs and the sound of that era first and foremost.

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