Kid Creole & the Coconuts

Too Cool to Conga!

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One is tempted to call it inevitable that Kid Creole and the Coconuts would make an album to take advantage of the swing revival, except that getting to make another record at all wasn't even likely for a group as marginal saleswise as this one. "First new studio album in 10 years!," proclaims a sticker on the shrinkwrap, failing to take into account the studio albums the band has released overseas since its last new U.S. album, You Shoulda Told Me You Were... in 1991. But, stylistically, one might as well forget those foreign records, especially the last one, 1997's The Conquest of You, with its Euro-disco sound. The Kid Creole persona and style always owed something to Cab Calloway, among other ingredients, but here bandleader August Darnell makes the debt explicit, calling the disc "a creative nod of gratitude to the masters of yesteryear," Calloway in particular. He has not entirely sacrificed his self-deprecating wit, especially in the shaggy dog story of the title song and a remake of "Endicott," and Michelle Tuthill's turn as a torch singer on "Get Rid" is a typical bit of Coconuts turnaround. But what matters on this album is the neo-swing sound that has been a weapon in Darnell's arsenal since some of the purveyors of the trend were in grade school. Of course, by 2001, the swing revival had pretty much come and gone, but then, managing to both anticipate and arrive late for a musical trend is par for the course for Kid Creole and the Coconuts. Let's forget the negligible commercial prospects and focus on the joys of having a new Creole album on these shores for the first time in a decade. As the Kid demands, "Get that stick from out your behind. Let's jam!"

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