Vavoom! is Brian Setzer's first album since "Jump Jive & Wail" from Dirty Boogie became a huge, unexpected hit in 1998 and sent the retro-guitarist into his second round of hipness and commercial success. He earned a lot of fans with Dirty Boogie because he was faithful to jump blues, swing, rockabilly, R&B, and early rock & roll, but played fast and loose, finding songs that weren't played all that often and having fun kicking them out with a big band. Unfortunately, the surprise success made Setzer play it safe with Vavoom!. Every cover here is predictable -- "Pennsylvania 6-500," "Mack the Knife," Ellington's "Caravan," and "Americano," fresh in the public consciousness thanks to Matt Damon and Jude Law's rip-roaring performance of it in The Talented Mr. Ripley, released just six months before this album. That situation is regrettable, since the covers form the backbone of the album. Setzer fares better on his originals, largely because they sound even fresher in next to these warhorses, but they're tunes where the form takes precedent over the content. The result is hearing a good band trying hard to breathe life into a set of songs that should be more interesting than they are. It's not necessarily a bad listen -- Setzer is a good bandleader with a good band -- but it's just a tad too pat and familiar. Considering that this follows an album where Setzer used the same formula but made it sound alive, it has to qualify as a bit of a disappointment.
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine