It's been more than two decades since Brian Setzer wreaked havoc on the ol' time-space continuum by making old-school rockabilly a viable listen for postmodern folks. In the intervening years, the pompadoured guitarist has dipped his six-string into a wide variety of streams, from swing to standards, and on this 12-pack, he splashes around in a goodly number of those past haunts. The onetime Stray Cat
has put his orchestra in cold storage, at least temporarily: Nitro Burnin' Funny Daddy,
as befits its title, is largely chopped and channeled rock 'n' roll. Even so, there's enough variety to keep listeners on their toes, from the raw riffing of the glamourpuss-bashing "Drink Whiskey and Shut Up" to the moody, Orbison-styled melody weaving of "Wild Wind." Setzer is still capable of reeling off surprising tangents on guitar -- particularly on the cagey instrumental "Rat Pack Boogie" -- but just to keep things interesting, he's willing to shunt his usual axe aside now and then, as on the banjo-led album closer, "When the Bells Don't Chime." The disc's most adventurous track, however, is its most structurally simple: On "St. Jude," Setzer shifts from his usual gas-huffin' good-time wail into a subdued, hymnlike assessment of the need for faith in modern times. Yes, Nitro Burnin' Funny Daddy
requires more effort than the usual Brian Setzer release, but listeners willing to hang on tight will be rewarded with a thrilling ride.