Music Reviews

Jesse Malin

The Fine Art of Self Destruction


The former leader of the glam punk band D Generation, Malin enlisted it-boy Ryan Adams to produce this slab of reasonably likable rock. From the first time Malin opens his mouth on leadoff track “Queen of the Underworld,” it’s apparent how much he sounds like Adams, from the vocal idiosyncrasies to the strong melodic sense to the Springsteen-cum-Westerberg lyrical motifs.

The record is at its best on the full-speed ahead rocker “Wendy,” about a girl who “liked Tom Waits, ’60s Kinks and Kerouac.” The cinematic “Riding On the Subway” and the acoustic “Brooklyn” are similarly impressive. And Malin reminisces nicely about his youth and learning “the politics of punk rock church” on the melancholy “Almost Grown.”

Unfortunately, Malin’s voice is not the best. He sounds pouty, strangled and marble-mouthed on “TKO.” It makes you want to slap him. He bleats on “High Lonesome” and whines on “Cigarettes & Violets.” He does let loose with a throaty punk/metal yell on the otherwise dull “Solitaire.” But a little more honesty and a little less posing would have made this record stronger.

Artemis Records: • Jesse Malin:

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