Jenny Toomey

Tempting: Jenny Toomey Sings the Songs of Franklin Bruno

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Singing with enough sophisticated coolness to suit the writing of Stephen Sondheim or Steve Merritt, Jenny Toomey wraps her dusky, graceful voice around Franklin Bruno's clever, literate songs. Toomey sounds a little too detached during her duet with Bruno on "Let's Stay In," which could benefit from a more whimsical and joyous performance, but she excels when backed by piano and strings on the touching "Empty Sentiment," or when sounding like a wearied lounge singer on the album's title track. Her band, which includes Joey Burns and John Convertino of Calexico, as well as Bruno himself, handles the material with aplomb. Toomey and friends transform "Inarticulate Boyfriend" into blustering mariachi music, complete with accordion and castanets; open "Cheat" with tasteful harmonica, and "Pointless Triangle" with a tasty trumpet solo; venture closer to straightforward rock music on "Every Little Bit Hurts"; and generally provide an accomplished setting for Bruno's songs.

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