4

Fatigo

"This one's for the ladies," Mike Montoya murmurs, before the opening strains of

Menso

's title track. Whether you are a lady or just want one, this disc contains a woman's daily requirement of vulnerability, furry animals, and baffling danceworthiness. From lush arrangements to achingly brainy lyrics, each song is an exotic species of what's been called percussive jazz, Latin pop, and bossa nova lounge -- usually all in the same sentence. Montoya's mushiest crooning is couched in Spanglish, but Kevin Cardozo's beach-hammock trumpet riffs betray the soft underbelly, until his horn morphs into Heaven's snarly snooze-alarm for "Harps and Sandals." John De La Cruz teases his kit through an exhaustive catalogue -- booty-rhythmic thumps, driving snare runs, dreamy cymbal ellipses, that addicting little "Brown Sugar"-style stick-roll -- while bassist Dan Sitzler and guest

über
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-instrumentalist Robin Vining bring the biscuits and gravy to the combo. You never know what's over the next bridge: the postapocalyptic bastard child of David Byrne and Simon Le Bon, or an enraged polar bear.

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