Squirrel Nut Zippers’s album, Hot, which was released in 1997, brought about much success to the band that was not conceived to come true. Similar to their previous album, The Inevitable, the Zippers come back with a postmodern, big band sound. Unlike their contemporaries, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, Royal Crown Avenue and Cherry Poppin’ Daddies, they deliver a raw and humorous set of songs that reminisce of the jump blues and swing era of the 1930s and 1940s without over producing their music. The Zippers do not easily fall under the genre of Swing-Revival of the mid 1990s, which brings back the sounds that made Louis Prima popular. Hot showcases a mixture of various influences including Cab Calloway, Fats Waller, Django Reinhardt, Tom Waits and Delta Blues music.
The album kicks off with “Got My Own Thing Now”, which sounds as if it was pulled out from a swing record collection from the 1940s. This fun, jumpy ditty hooks the listener and gives a reason why they should listen to this album and start swinging. The next track introduces Katharine Whalen on “Put A Lid On It”. This catchy tune creeps in with a call and response between Ms. Whalen and the rest of the band with its waling muted trumpet. The Zippers come back on their feet with the raunchy instrumental, “Memphis Exorcism”. Next up, Tom Maxwell and Ms. Whalen give a sweet, slow dance tune that floats above Ken Mosher’s soft, rhythmic saxophone and James Mathus’s jazzy guitar riffs in “Twilight”. “It Ain’t You” breaks into a dark disposition, which embodies elements of rockabilly. Continue reading Review: Squirrel Nut Zippers – Hot (1997)