2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 14 June 2004
I have to start by saying "Hotel Columbia"... Genius, Fantastic! It's one of those tunes that the first time you hear it your heart leaps and you can't wait for the album to finish so that you can skip back to it and play it again... and again and again. You know what I mean, driving the neighbours nuts while you dance around your room screaming "Call me up, Call me up Columbia". It's that instant buzz from the ultimate drug. It's what I'd call "the Sheena syndrome", as 'Sheena Is A Punk Rocker' was the first song to have that effect on me!
But please don't imagine I'm saying buy this album and skip straight to track 12 because the journey there most certainly should not be missed or rushed. Like Jesse's debut, The Fine Art Of Self Destruction, every song is an individual work of art that could never be labelled 'Album Track'.
The album opens with the new single 'Mona Lisa', which with its very different Beatles-esque production immediately defines an original identity for Jesse's 'difficult' second album. This is followed by 'Swingin' Man' and even though this is only the second track, you just can't help thinking already that most bands' 'best of' albums aren't this good!
I've been anticipating the studio version of 'Silver Manhattan' perhaps a little too much. I guess it was always going to be impossible for this song to live up to all my expectations. I still believe this song is the best on the album (maybe even the best Jesse has written so far) but I wanted to hear it acoustically. All that beautiful, tragic emotion that Jesse puts into this song, for me, works so much better with just vocals, guitar and piano. Maybe if I wish hard enough then Jesse will release an acoustic version.
...On the other hand, 'Arrested' is everything I was hoping it would be, while 'Scars Of Love' and 'New World Order' display the broader (maybe even heavier!) sound that seemed quite evident recently when I saw Jesse live at the Rescue Rooms. 'Basement Home' is an old Jesse Malin classic that first appeared in his live sets as far back as his PCP Highway days. Partly for this reason then, this track feels more reminiscent of previous releases than anything else on the album. But this is a brilliant song that will now hopefully find the wider audience it has always deserved.
'Indian Summer' is another new song that benefits from the bigger sound including distorted guitars and the line "dying for a living", which reaches back to the D Generation song of that title or even 'So Messed Up' from the album Through The Darkness that also uses the same line.
If I was to make one minor criticism, then it would be of the sleeve artwork that for me lets down an album that is destined to become the best album of the year. But whatever I think of the artwork, the fact remains that musically Jesse has definitely evolved and risen to all the challenges posed by a second album. And perhaps more importantly for a 'rocker' like myself, then Jesse has definitely increased the fire power of his 'live' artillery with the release of The Heat.
Just a footnote for D Generation fanatics: Amongst the many collaborating guest musicians performing on The Heat alongside Jesse is Howie Pyro - bass & crazy effects. In fact, I believe that if you listen close enough to the production sound of The Heat, then you can hear similarities to the production sound of the PCP Highway demos... which was the last time Howie and Jesse worked together.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 14 June 2004
The second album from Ryan Adams' best mate is a sure-footed blast of Americana fused rock mixed with mesmerising glimpses of Beatles-esque melody. Jesse Malin's self-produced sophomore effort is a breathtaking leap on from debut 'The Fine Art Of Self Destruction', brimming with all the confidence of a young Springsteen (but without the tight jeans) mixed with early Billy Joel. 'Heat' kicks off with the addictive blasts of 'Mona Lisa' (the first single) and 'Swinging Man', before shifting gear with the torch-bearing beauty of 'Silver Manhattan'. Elsewhere 'Scars Of Love' is all scuzzy bass and uplifting chorus, 'About You' is harmony-driven majesty and ode to the rock pitstop 'Hotel Columbia' is a sing-a-long piece of perfection where, "the Shining meets old Spinal Tap" (weird!). With guest appearances from a host of luminaries (including Ryan Adams and Pete Yorn), 'Heat' is a stunning return from a truly gifted songwriter. Malin may not be as well known as his mates but he sure knows how to match them in the tune stakes. What is left, but if there is any doubt in your mind, cast it aside and go buy "the heat" won't disappoint
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 21 June 2004
Jesse Malin tones-up and touches down with more bravado and swagger, emotional baggage, and tales of the scorched city with second album 'Heat'.
Picking up where 'Fine Art...' left off, 'Heat' will define Malin as an ever more meticulous, and determined pioneer of punk-fused alt-country.
Where his debut album placed Malin as a worthy understudy to Ryan Adams in the booze-ballad department, Heat marks a more mature approach to production, without losing any of the rich instant 'On The Road' appeal of its predecessor.
Malin's core themes remain the same. Clean-sweeping poetic draws on Manhatten and Columbia city scapes, living like a trobadour, never staying in one place long enough to let staleness kick-in.
The best moments on this album happen when Malin is at his most introspective. 'Hotel Columbia' is like a diary entry written on the back of a tour bus made into a perfect into a perfect piece of pop-punk. The sweet distortion rips through the aggrssive and inviting storylines.
Scars of love, Silver Manhatten, and Since you're in love, all harness this breezy hustle and bustle of Malin's best rock and roll.
Some songs don't ring as true as others, but with this album, and with the extensive touring that accompanies it, Malin is sure to step out the shadow, if not fill the boots of the sidelined Ryan Adams.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 19 September 2004
Malin's first album was very good, but almost too easy to get into! This may seem a strange comment, but this album has more depth and requires more work. Songs like 'Mona Lisa', 'Scars of Love' and 'Hotel Columbia' are catchy numbers, which are easy to cling on to. After a few listens it become apparent just how good the album is as a whole. This is a fabulous album and songs like 'Block Island' and 'Basement Home' are very rewarding. If you like this album you've almost certainly listened to Ryan Adams and enjoyed his work and the similarities are endless. In my opinion both have great voices and Malin's voice is perfect for his excellently blended country-rock. Buy this album, Awesome!
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 1 August 2004
This is Jesse Malin's second solo album and, unlike common expectations of a decline after a highly reviewed first one ?I'm talking about the Rock press, not reviewers in this site? this is, to my taste, a more accomplished album than its predecessor.
Whereas "The Fine Art of Self-Destruction" was angry and raw ?as far as production values are concerned? this is more poignant in its message ?trading rage for outrage? and more polished, without ever deserving to be considered slick.
Defying my general bias for self-produced albums, "Heat" carries a more personal sound and showcases Malin's compositions more convincingly than his solo debut did, under the production of Ryan Adams. As astounding as Adams may be as a composer and performer ?and believe me, I'm awed by his talent? his capacity to produce is still limited. A common sin, when it comes to production chores, is to have the artist sound too much as his producer, and Adams could be accused of that.
In contrast with that, Malin knows his songs and, without indulging in overworked versions, he's made his songs sound more authentic and believable in this album. This is, possibly, the sound of post 9/11 urban Rock, the result of a certain loss of innocence without giving up its edge nor profound hope.
I agree with those people who cautioned us already that he's no Springsteen, yet Bruce comes to mind when listening to "The Heat," and he does because, Malin like "the Boss," does not pretend to be someone he's not nor short-changes you in the "heart department."
There are several great examples of this guy?s mature punk truths. Listen to ?Mona Lisa? or ?Silver Manhattan,? for instance, or the thoughtful ire of ?New World Order,? or quiet plead for the forgotten ones on "God's Lonely People.?
All in all, this is not yet a five-star outing, but more because he still has so much more to offers us than he due to any personal disappointments I may have with it.
Jesse Malin has touched me, and he's done it out of sheer sincerity, through his music and his words.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 4 December 2004
Jesse Malin's career got a shot in the arm two years ago when his debut CD was produced by alt-country wonder-kid Ryan Adams. That album, "The Fine Art of Self-Destruction" was a powerful slab of gritty urban rock stuffed with killer tunes and redolent with imagery. Producing the follow-up was never going to be easy, but wisely the former New York punk hasn't tinkered with the formula too much. Lyrically his scope is a little broader, addressing a range of political issues in songs like "New World Order" and "Silver Manhattan". Whatever his subject though, Malin's gift is in getting under the skin of his songs and personalizing them. Like that elder Statesman of rock, Bruce Springsteen, Malin has a novelist's eye for detail which brings his songs of loss and longing buzzing to life. There is humour too - "We never had a baby but she got more tattoos; and I got more material for the blues" he sings on "Swinging Man". The album swings from loud old fashioned rock 'n' roll through sweetly tuneful power-pop, to contemplative piano ballads. It's all played with class and conviction and sung in as authentic a dishevelled drawl as you're likely to hear. Whether you want to sing along, cry along or punch the air while you drive along "The Heat" has a song for you.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 23 May 2004
I got sent a copy of this, pre-release and I put it on with some trepidation as I had enjoyed 'The Fine Art...' so much. I had not yet read a review and so had not been prejudiced in any way except by the excellence of Jesse's 1st album. This is a VERY good follow-up to his debut, The Fine Art Of Self-Destruction and an album that improves with every listen. From the superb single 'Mona Lisa' which name-checks Shane MacGowan to the beauty of Silver Manhattan and God''s Lonely People this is an album that deserves to be heard.
Jesse is a real talent; buy this!
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 9 June 2005
i think jesse malin has outdone himself here. since i first saw him supporting the counting crows he has been one of my fav artists to date. the first album had a very ryan adams feel to it as he produced it but ithink malin has managed to keep a certain element of that first album on this album. with song like wendy and riding on the subaway on the first he has recaptured that in mona lisa and scars of love while songs like swinging man add a new depth to it.