Blog: The Electro Swinger’s Club // The Atomic Fireballs
The Atomic Fireballs are one of those bands that appear on your itunes without any forewarning. I stumbled across them one evening and was pleasantly surprised. The gravely vocals of John Bunkley make you feel like you are back in an era full of rhythm and blues and fast paced jazz. They have been hailed as a variety of different genres including new swing, rockabilly, and jump blues but cite some of their strongest influences in punk. They have been criticised by members of the swing revival movement for being too fast paced to dance too but personally I think seeing a jump blues band such as The Atomic Fireballs would be just as fun as any new swing band.
Their album Birth of the Swerve was released in 1998 before the band signed to Atlantic Records. The record has stood the test of time and thirteen years on is still fresh and exciting to listen to. ‘Man With the Hex’ is a strong opener, letting you feel the full effect of Bunkley’s growl before the rest of the band kicks in with music that will make you throw yourself around the room in a frenzy of jives and kicks.
The big band opening of ‘Starve a Fever’ makes you reminisce about the golden age of Hollywood and New York jazz clubs, whether you have experienced either of these things or not. It slows the pace a little and really reaches into the blues genre with sad lyrics speaking of “those awful ways”. Everyone knows the feeling of being kicked when you are down, and Bunkley embodies that in this song perfectly.
The Atomic Fireballs may not fit perfectly in the electro-swing or even the swing genre, but they definitely embody the reminiscent quality of the genre, reinventing and reliving a sound that was sorely missed. Unfortunately every good thing must come to an end at some point and The Atomic Fireballs haven’t released anything in over ten years.