“The sonic definition of happiness”
“The hair gel came out and the swing switched max on. The Zen Hussies came out to play on Saturday 21st February and they took the audience in their time machine and buzzed me, themselves and everyone, to a land where the crunch aint hittin’. And what a fantastic grunting, rolling voice the lead singer has. A Victoria sponge cake with fluorescent icing, the Hussies have the style and sound of the swing era, combined with a flourish of the modern, a bare footed sax player, a smattering of the modern hippy/new retro glam. The bare brick walls of the venue adding the element of an old dance hall, or a 30s jazz club perhaps.
So refreshing to watch a band play this kind of music live, and have so many adoring fans, dancing in circles, or with a burlesque feminine flourish.”
Feathers and Bricks
“Hailing from Bristol (in the UK) The Zen Hussies second long player (“Continental Adaptor”) is a free-for-all, no-holds-barred, get-your-lazy-ass-up-outta-that-seat-and-dance mixture of vintage jazz, swing and not-so-big band.
Some of the things that make this recording work are obvious: they’re great musicians and snappy dressers (both requirements for their chosen style(s)). But lots of bands can claim those two merits.
There are a couple of things that make The Zen Hussies stand out:
They’re daring. To keep “Continental Adaptor” from sounding like (yet) another tribute to a bygone era the band is wise enough to mix a goodly number of sounds into this album’s eight tunes. You can easily pick out the swing/jazz/elements but you’ll run across circus waltzes (“The Whiplash Waltz”), croonerific Sinatra-esque balladry (“Honey Bee Suite”) and damned if that doesn’t sound like SKA (“My Kinda Lady”). There’s a lot to hang your head on here and repeated liste”
“What can I say about the Zen Hussies? Well, quite a lot, actually. They are the undisputed masters of horn-heavy, Brylcreem-dripping swing-stomp, using their music as a powerful nerve-agent designed to get the feet of anyone within earshot moving manically across the dancefloor. With shades of big band swing, gypsy jazz, 50’s rock’n'roll, ska and a staggering cornucopia of other forms and facets, their tunes are toe-tapping at the very least.
These smooth operators positively ooze class, albeit the kind of sleazy, smoky, speakeasy kind of class, which, in my book, is the classiest of all. They shake, they shimmy, they slide, they scream, they squawk- a many legged, multi-talented musical megalith here to prove the best music of the middle decades of the 20th century still micturates wildly over everything produced since, and is always more likely to get you dancing.
“• If you’ve ever stumbled across a Zen Hussies gig the chances are they’ll have troubled your feet already. After one hearing of their third album you’ll remember why – it’s all here, splendidly performed and recorded. Chirpy opener ‘Angelina Tout’ swings out with vintage jazziness, catchy as it gets and, like ‘Jetset Giro Gigolo’, tells a comically implausible tale with well-staged relish. There’s a shade of Ian Dury about ‘Catfood’, with raucous backing vocals and a rockabilly swing propelling the pun-strewn feline narrative, while the languidly unromantic ‘Not In The Mood’ belies a swing-ska classic while respecting it absolutely. They’re a splendid bunch, the Hussies - ace musicians with a sense of humour - and this is their best waxing yet. (Tony Benjamin)