Dexter Romweber Duo

The madman behind Flat Duo Jets, Dexter Romweber is back with Ruins of Berlin (Bloodshot), an amalgam of voodoo muzak and croony cosmopolitan country — imagine Marty Robbins meeting Scream­in' Jay Hawkins in a back alley for a murky tango. Joined on drums by his low-key sister, Sara (Snatches of Pink, Let's Active), Romweber — who recently cut some songs in Nashville with Jack White — immerses listeners in a smoke-encrusted, run-down cocktail lounge where the twinkle of dirty glasses forms constellations of lost love. Instrumentals like "Cigarette Party" are stuffed with surfer soundtracks, exotica flourishes, and leopard-print go-go gyrations, while "Camilla's Gone" echoes woe-on-the-sleeve Nick Cave. Rom­weber effortlessly twists and weaves his voice through Frederick Hollander's title track, becoming a snaky torch singer evoking both piney-woods melancholy and brothels from Henry Miller's disheveled, seedy Europe. Don't expect the primitive rumble and tumble of knockabout Flat Duo Jets; Romweber's newest slabs are still percussive, twangy and swelling, just minus moments that pierce. Instead, they contort in slinky reverb layers. Bring your smoking jacket to properly enjoy his film noir swagger and sadness.

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