'Succour for Suckers'
New Orleans boogie never died. The Hustlers, despite how out-of-time their sound and style ought to be, work perfectly. First track Dr Thrill has a thrust and swagger more often associated with heavy metal than old-time jazz and R&B. Their look Ã¢Â€Â“ black suede, fedoras, twisting around each other on stage like Burlesque-crazed Mafioso Ã¢Â€Â“ makes sense. Anchored by the twisted, sticky-black lyrics of guitarist Phil Robinson ("I'm Dr Thrill/ I kill what no-one else can kill,"), the powerful voice of Jo Fairclough is a weapon. On the kinetic Edgar-Allan Poe freakout New Song in B-Minor, companion Tully weaves breathy counter-melodies around Jo's commanding presence. Trav Panessar's sax is cocky, assured: he is the witch-doctor providing the voodoo stabs and licks that keep the whole thing bubbling. The resultant gumbo feels fresh, but timeless, and suffers only when it tends towards the upbeat. Unique, odd as hell, sublimely disturbing, their darker tracks are as special as their live show. [Bram Gieben]