The rockabilly revival didn't end with the demise of The Stray Cats. That spirit of rock, rumble and boogie lives on in the trio The Royal Hounds, a band bred in east Tennessee, tempered by a well-received residency in Las Vegas and, if their dynamic new album "Poker All Night Long" is any indication, stand ready to take on the world.
The title suggests some double meaning - it only takes a quick read to figure that out - but it's the band's manic stage shows (which usually find front man Scott Hinds mugging like a madman while balancing precariously on his stand-up bass), that demonstrate a degree of showmanship that is far more than simply a perfunctory performance. This is a group with the ability to relay unabated entertainment, and in that regard, they're simply spectacular.
"Poker All Night Long" captures a zany sense of recklessness and enthusiasm, courtesy of a set of songs that are, by turns, weird and wacky, but, at the same time, always on point. The trio's take on blustery rockabilly has its irreverent undertones, and even when they're at their absolute silliest - take the case of "Bacon Time" and "Elvis Is Haunting My Bathroom" as but two examples - they hold their audience's attention with their bravado alone. Their sass and style are not only engaging, but captivating as well. In today's troubled world, it's nice to find an outfit that refuses to take themselves so seriously as to ignore their obligations to the audience.
Ultimately, the best way to gain the full effect is to see them live. However, "Poker All Night Long" is a wonderfully expressive to experience them as well. It's an album that serves to remind us that aside from whatever other effect it may have on our senses, music's ultimate mission is to ensure that there's fun.