Denver Gentlemen Introducing...

It's not difficult to imagine Tom Waits as a top-hatted ringmaster of an eccentric carnival; what is difficult to imagine is that a Denver band managed to create a stunning album that captured this spirit without slavish imitation, and that said album sat in the vaults for more than five years before being rescued by a Toronto indie label. Introducing the Denver Gentlemen, recorded just before the band's premature demise, captures a timeless blend of Eastern European folk and inventive Americana that isn't hog-tied by a collection of Hank Williams albums. The result is an acid cabaret seemingly populated by the combined cast of carnivals from Woody Allen's Shadows and Fog and U2's "All I Want Is You" video ¾ black and white, otherworldly, distinctly sad and potentially lost. Tuba and brushed snare swish below the cabaret proceedings that filter Kurt Weill through Salvador Dali. Although alumni include 16 Horsepower members David Eugene Edwards and Jean Yves Tola, this album captures a final incarnation of the band led by warbling front-man Jeffrey-Paul. He's rumoured to be reassembling the group, five years after this recording and the band's premature demise. Don't miss the circus when the Denver Gentlemen come to town. (Absolom)