It's Jo and Danny

Thugs Lounge

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Thugs Lounge takes a slight stylistic leap away from It's Jo & Danny's debut, Lank Haired Girl to Bearded Boy. Trading in the dreamy, poetic sounds of its predecessor for more traditional hippie electro folk songs, the album nevertheless sees the duo continuing their utterly charming songwriting. Anthems like "Hug a Tree for Me" and "Give a Little Bit Extra" are as peaceful and carefree as their titles suggest, and enough stylish curveballs surface, in the form of bagpipes, vinyl scratches, and frazzled guitars, to keep the music from sounding too mature and overly outlined. If the album isn't as cohesive as their debut, its gentle themes and brittle musical elements are still quite engrossing. This lack of cohesion surfaces because the duo alternates between songs of elegant, delicate bliss featuring Jo Barlett's breathy, tender vocals and busy, sample-heavy instrumentals that strangle the mood. Had the instrumentals been dropped entirely, it would have made for a nearly sublime mini-album. A perfect example of the poor sequencing is the placement of "Adonis and the Pig," a rambling, heavy-handed noodle, between the superb "Sign of the Cross" and "Real Thing." With so few artists operating in this light shoegazer-inspired vein, even a slightly flawed outing from these emerging masters is a worthy release. Though it's not on par with their near-masterpiece Lank Haired Girl to Bearded Boy due to its unseemly filler, Thugs Lounge still provides enough beautiful, sublime moments to earn a place alongside that debut.

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