"You gotta have a gimmick," said a wise old stage mother -- and Matt Catingub (aka Big Kahuna and youngest son of the late singer Mavis Rivers) has chosen his home-state Hawaii as the calling card for yet another new swing band. If you close your eyes, though, Hawaii is hardly in evidence on this rather ordinary recording where the jackhammer new swing/rockabilly beat is juxtaposed with more or less traditional big-band and combo numbers. Occasionally, a Hawaii-related tune like "Pearly Shells," "Blue Hawaii," or the concluding "Hawaiian War Chant" (which Tommy Dorsey beat the Kahuna to by over a half century) pass your way, but the arrangements are strictly mainland style, and most of the remainder of the songs date well before any of the band members were born (the oldest is trumpeter Dave Scott, 35). Catingub delivers the same brand of snazzy, high-energy vocals that you hear all the time in new swing circles, and he plays competent if not particularly individual alto sax. If anything, the factor that separates this band -- if "separates" is the right word -- from many of its competitors is its reversion to older swing era voicings in many of its instrumentals. In other words, let the good times roll, take 127.
AllMusic Review by Richard S. Ginell