Album review

Jesse Malin :
The Fine Art Of Self Destruction

One Little Indian

Jesse Malin : The Fine Art Of Self DestructionFor those of us that care about these sorts of things, Jesse Malin is the former vocalist with bratty New York glam punks D Generation, who were tipped as the next big thing once upon a time in 1994. Their self-titled debut certainly had its moments, and they soldiered on until '99 in the face of growing media indifference.
    Sometimes you just need to try something different, and that's what Malin has done on The Fine Art Of Self Destruction, his debut solo release . . .

Gone are the Dead Boys riffs and the sneered vocals, to be replaced with an acoustic guitar and a voice . . . well to be honest, a voice which takes a little getting used to. Do you remember the first time you heard The Flaming Lips? Well, hearing Jesse for the first time on Queen Of The Underworld is a bit like that. He has the sweet intonation of disc producer Ryan Adams, but it's laced with a rock 'n' roll swagger that is hard to lose once it's learned.
    While the majority of The Fine Art Of Self Destruction weaves in and out of Adams territory, the excellent Wendy is hugely reminiscent of early Goo Goo Dolls, y'know, before they went a little soft at the edges.
    The standout track is undoubtedly the beautifully understated Brooklyn. The addition of a piano and an organ adds a depth that is otherwise rarely reached. As there are two versions here, it seems a fair bet that I'm not the only one who thinks this. It's a good pointer towards future releases contained more songs of this quality.
    Whether it's on the Simon & Garfunkel bongo lament of Riding On The Subway or the should-be-a-radio-single High Lonesome, Jesse Malin's authenticism and style shine through to to make a merely good album verge on the great. Not perfect, but easily good enough to get a recommendation.

:: Rowan Shaeffer

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