In 2008, the Virgins were the sultans of sleaze: four post-Strokes caricatures masquerading as a band, soundtracking fashion week runways and NYC loft parties with their snot-nosed dance-rock. After a half-decade of semi-obscurity, frontman Donald Cumming is redefining his band as the hipster sultans of swing. Influenced majorly by Dire Straits and other classic-rock vets, the Virgins have dialed down the trademark bubblegum glitz in favor of introspective country-rock, psychedelic balladry, and smoldering guitar sass — with Cumming crooning in an awkwardly deep, Mark Knopfler-esque rumble. The results are hit-or-miss. A sturdy disco pulse on "Prima Materia" (a rare stylistic nod to their debut) is marred by Cumming's half-drunk vocal delivery, until its explosive criss-cross guitar coda. "The Beggar," meanwhile, drifts by in an aimless, haggard haze. Strike Gently only perks up when the Virgins kick it old-school — like on "Flashbacks, Memories, and Dreams," a delectable spread of hectic hi-hats and campy disco bass. Maturity — for Christ's sake — be damned.
THE VIRGINS + HAR MAR SUPERSTAR:: T.T. The Bear's Place, 10 Brookline Ave, Cambridge :: April 4:: 8:30 pm :: 18+ :: $12 :: 617.492.0082 or ttthebears.com