Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Stray Cats: Rant n' Rave With the Stray Cats [EMI America, 1983]
I love the sound of this record--it's much bigger and rawer, as if Built for Speed's prettification was just to get over. Only an ideologue would deny that these unlikely pop stars tear into rockabilly readymades with twice the gusto of any purists or authentics now recording. And Brian Setzer is the snazziest guitarist to mine the style since James Burton. But he's also a preening panderer, mythologizing his rockin' '50s with all the ignorant cynicism of a punk poser. He's no singer, no actor, no master of persona. And if he can write songs he didn't bother. B-