Music News

For Mathilda

Not to be confused with the Riverside, California-based satirical punk outfit that shares the same name, Sentimental Hitmen hails from Boulder and specializes in a hard-edged brand of alternative soul. Created by singer/saxophonist Will Baumgartner and guitarist Tyler Burba, the jazzy five-piece shilly-shallies between funk, psychedelia and Latin roots without ever fully committing itself to any of them. Such skilled versatility dominates this groove-infused collection of flute-driven funk ("Who You Know"), gut-driven blues ("Blood From a Stone," "Lead Spoons") and jam-band flirtations ("Don't Take My Word"). Much better when they're plying rhythmic killer instincts over cloying mush (acoustic weeper "Still Hum" makes for a ponderous study in navel-gazing), the Hitmen score highest with tunes that borrow flavors from south of the border. "Contemporary Classic" and "Potion of Persuasion" both recall the accordion-and-conga-laced allure of Los Lobos -- reason enough to give these hired guns a spin.