World Class Thugs @ The Lost Leaf

It's hard not to wonder where super-villains like The Joker and The Penguin picked up their henchmen thugs. They never seemed that good at what they did, always standing around and second-guessing their evil-genius bosses. To make matters worse, they didn't even seem to be that tough; Batman and Robin were always able to dispense with them pretty quickly. It's tempting to suggest that the bad guys could have used some World Class Thugs — but as it turns out, the music from the Phoenix-based band wouldn't serve their brutish purposes. The band's new album, Curio, doesn't sound like the work of any mooks; instead, it's a jazzy Americana excursion. The album ranges from delicate, like the flute-led "Adobe," to creepy, like the lurching "Work Is the Curse," while opener "Drive Thru at Ramiro's" rightfully establishes the clarinet as a leading instrument, while singer Jocelyn Ruiz Dustan ruefully sings "I have picked up your crumbs / I have paid your bail / Only to watch you chase more tail." Sounds like a bad guy to hang around, and Thugs certainly have more refined things to do.

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