self-released CD Evil is a fine testament to their strengths. Led
by singers Lee Ann Westover and Jen Jones, the band tears through
13 originals that swing and rock unlike any of their contemporaries.
The CD is remarkably well produced. Both singers have rich, distinct
voices with great range, and the vocal harmonies come through bright
and clear. Co-produced by Jones and Westover with engineer Dey Bennett,
the CD never sounds muddy or flat. Even Andy Riedel's most subtle
guitar fills ring through the saxes of Andrew Cahn and Lars Jacoboson
and every snap and slap of the rhythm section.
They may be a part of "the swing revival," but the Camaros
have spent far less time studying the songbooks of the two Louis
(Jordon and Prima) than the majority of their boy band brethren.
Certainly, they take advantage of the genre's popular tropes:
the diminished chords, the horns that sway and stab through rhythms
that lend themselves perfectly for the dance floor. But these
babes put a spin on the proceedings that is inventive and exhilarating
and definitely their own.
The Camaros not only employ a wide variety of styles, including
rockabilly, jump blues, and jazz, they also flavor every song with
a lyrical inventiveness and sense of humor. They kick off with the
inspired metaphor of "Junk Food," in which they chide
men who don't deliver the goods ("Gotta little taste/ but I'm
still hungry"). Later come the doo-wop tempos that give way
to upbeat ska of "Moanin'" over which the girls seductively,
well, moan. The walking bass line hook of "Shameless Hussy"
underscores a call to arms for bad girls everywhere. "Danger
Girl" is the theme song for the best spy girl flick never made,
while "Too Young to be Bitter" reeks of the smoky lounges
of a second-rate Vegas show palace. "I Wanna be Famous"
is a jazzy ballad in which Westover, calling to mind a Valley of
the Dolls-esque of vision of stardom, claims, "I will be a
Barbie doll, with big fake tits, no hips at all and a heinous attitude
Of course, there are those (mostly male) listeners who might interpret
the Camaros self-empowered, mocking songs as male-bashing. These
are the same sort of people who couldn't handle Wanda Jackson's
raucous tunes, the type who prefer there singers merely pretty and
easy to listen to. But the rest of us, we know, just as Wanda Jackson
was to Brenda Lee, Sleater-Kinney is far sexier than Celine Dion.