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This review is from: The Heat (Audio CD)
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.