The Italian ensemble known as 9 Lazy 9 have been around since the acid jazz days, quietly cultivating their alternately dark and whimsical sounds and rhythms. Moody but never overly serious, they’ve emerged from the trip-hop era without compromising their style or sounding dated, and Sweet Jones takes the listener through noir-ish territory with beats that sound like something DJ Shadow would have produced in his Mo’ Wax heyday. But it’s the simple and mature production that elevates Sweet Jones to the next level. With its careful layering of guitar strings, synth accents and jazzy rhythmic elements, the album strikes a distinctive tone, but never bogs down under a heavy emotional load.