Review: Jimmy Vargas and the Black Dahlias – The Tease… The Torch and the Noir / My Shadow Bride

Occupying a complete unique area – at least in modern music terms – Jimmy Vargas and the Black Dahlias are a welcome schmoozefest of off-kilter conceptual jazz noir for the striptease cocktail lounge , produced with such love and authentic decadence that only a fool would fail to be entranced.

The Tease… the Torch and The Noir opens up with the magnificent Tallulah’s Boudoir, a glorious paean to the glories of the 1940’s burlesque club, and the album continues with its smooth soundtrack-style torch songs and finger-clicking jazz tunes, devoted to such sinful subjects as High Heels, Black Stockings, Strip Tease in Noir and House of Fetish. With Vargas adding just the right amount of discordia to his silky smooth vocals, matching the unsettlingly sexy music, the album goes down as smoothly as Sebor absinth and lingers in the mind just as seductively. There are moments which take me back to Twin Peaks‘ Red Room, while other tunes cry out for bumping, grinding burlesk tassel twirling.

My Shadow Bride continues with the theme of film noir exotica, conjuring up images of femme fatales, down-at-heel private dicks and semi-naked girls dancing in an illicit speakeasy while the band play the soundtrack to your last drink. Numbers like A Stripper’s Rhapsody and Nude on a Swing threaten to spiral out of control as the burst with ideas, yet Vargas and his band bring it all under control impressively.

Admirers of jazz noir with a side helping of sleaze will need no further recommendation, Check ’em out!


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