Royal Crown Revue

The Contender

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The least smarmy of the bevy of neo-swing albums that were released during the same period (including admirable-selling sets by Big Bad Voodoo Daddy and the Cherry Poppin' Daddies), Royal Crown Revue's fourth album is also their most traditional offering in the genre. And because they are somewhat veterans of the scene (they formed in 1989, at least a good five years before neo-swing bands began replacing ska groups as Southern California's latest musical offering to fad-seeking kids), Royal Crown Revue play it a bit more straight and with more dash than most of their neo-swing contemporaries. Still, there's a slight hipper-than-thou vibe splattered throughout The Contender, one that still self-importantly winks at its audience as it heavy-handedly plows through music 50-years-old. Choice cuts: "Walkin' Like Brando," "Zip Gun Bop (Reloaded)" and the zesty title track.

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