Yeah! The Gorillas are back!

I caught these guys last year at The Red Bank Blues & Jazz Fest, and they were... AMAZING! They took a sedate crowd and brought them to a fever pitch, especially when bassist Crusher Carmean jumped off the stage with a this big-ass, stand-up bass, running through the crowd, up a steep hill, and back up on stage - never missing a beat! I felt like I was back at The Leopard Lounge (at Club Bene in Sayreville), with all those cool retro-swing bands that promoter, DJ, and all-around cool cat Lenny Lounge (and let's not forget his main squeeze Kit Kat), put on.

The new CD opens with "All She Wants to do is Rock," which sounds like a jilted boyfriend’s lament, but it actually turns into a swinging, rocked-out dance number. Don't look to deep for political, or over-emotional songs. The Gashouse Gorillas are only here to get you out on the dance floor and shake your tail feathers - and that's a good thing!

"Kidney Stew" is flat-out New Orleans blues with The Gorillas’ special mojo. Rick Fink- vocals, Crusher- bass, Hiro Suzuki- guitar, Tim Veeder- sax, and Dan Hickey- drums, are the ligament heirs of the retro-swing genre, that are not only are keeping it alive, but bringing it to the next level. Big Band, Bop,
Swing, Rockabilly, and even Punk Rock are the foundation of bands like The Gashouse Gorillas, Cherry Poppin' Daddys, Brian Setzer, etc. On tunes like "Last to Know," or "Nobody's Fool," "Three Words," and "Stay," the band does get a bit sentimental, taking you to the submarine races, but they wisely keep away from any type of self-pity in favor of ain't-nothin'-gonna-keep-me-down, upbeat vibe, like Dion & The Belmont's "The Wanderer."

The closing number, "Burglar in the House of Love," is barrel-house rock and roll! An all-out rocker that leaves you wanting more! And to get more, you gotta see The Gas House Gorillas live! Check their website, you won't be disappointed! - Phil Rainone

Phil Rainone - POP VULTURE (Mar 11, 2008)