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Gabin Gabin

Upon initial listens, the Italian duo Gabin's eponymous debut comes off like an Italian assimilation of French live-jazz/Latin-house group St. Germain, with a bit of the sprightly Parisian music of the '40s (think the Amelie soundtrack) thrown in. And for the first half, that assessment rings true. But the haunting strings, plinking pianos and heartfelt melodies (highlighted by the delightful kitsch of "Doo Uap, Doo Uap," which uses a sample from Duke Ellington's big-band classic "It Don't Mean A Thing") can't stop the album from sinking into a gooey mush of jazzy, atmospheric lounge music and deep house. The album seems tailor-made for a visual medium (TV and advertisements). One track, "Urban Night," would fit perfectly in a steamy sex scene with its slinky sax solo, while the head-nodding smooth house of "Azul Anil" could be the accompaniment to the post-coital couple zooming around Milan on a Vespa. Thievery Corporation should watch their backs.

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