Jesse Malin - Glitter In the Gutter

Amongst my friends "Jesse Malin" is a lot like Marmite, they either love him or simply hate him. Some even go so far as to think he can't sing and has nothing to add to the current music scene.
Well luckily for Glitzine and Spice's libel lawyers, I love Marmite and also just happen to love nearly everything "Jesse Malin" has ever done.

From "D-Generation" through "The Finger" and "Bellvue" and even his guest stint with "River City Rebels" I've pretty much followed his career through the thick and mostly thin days.

And there is a reason for this, a really good one. That is, through the dark days of Grunge and Nu Metal, a band so vital to the glam/sleaze scene as "D-Generation" gave me something to believe in music wise, and still to this day I rate "No Lunch" as one of the best ever albums of the genre.

So, for that reason alone "Jesse Malin" has a very special place in my throbbing glam pyramid stud encrusted heart ("NY Loose" are the other band that still makes me go all gooey from the dark days). Now in 2007 we reach solo album number three for Jesse and I'm glad to say it is a move to a more electric sound, than his previous two solo outings. It's also worth noting at this point that on bass, replacing Jesse's long-term buddy and all round good guy "John Pissano", is none other than ex "Hanoi Rocks" and "New York Dolls" "Sam Yaffa".

So it is no surprise when tracks like "In The Modern World", "Prisoners of Paradise" and "Black Haired Girl" are the hardest rockers Jesse has sung on in many a year. This trio of songs are easily my favouritefrom Jesse's solo output, they simply ooze a charm and (New York) groove that Jesse "for me" has only captured in a live environment over the recent years. It also helps that they do bear a passing resemblance to "D-Generation" songs in pace, tone and passion.

Of the other ten songs on offer, the mood is much more upbeat than both "Heat" and "Art of Self Destruction". Album lead track "Don't Let Them Take You Down" for example, really does give you a feel good buzz that drinking a million Red Bulls could not even touch. And recently whilst listening to the said track one sunny spring morning driving into work, I found myself grinning like an idiot, and that ability within any song is truly something special (getting me to grin that is, grumpy ole beggar that I am).

Other tracks worth a special mention are the haunting melody that is "Tomorrow Tonight" which posses not only one of the best backing vocal hooks of the year but also somehow manages to name-drop "Dee Dee Ramone". Couple that with the again very positive 'kick out the jams' message that is "Little Star" and you begin to see a different side of "Jesse Malin's" beloved New York City this time around.

Of course there are the slower acoustic numbers and again a whole host of guest stars. So to that end "Bruce Springsteen" pops up adding his dulcet tones to "Broken Radio". However, this track for me, along with the cover of "The Replacements - Bastards of Young" are the 'put the kettle on moments' of the album. That is not to say the songs are poor but they simply do not stack up against the aforementioned highlights (of which there are just so many).

Always being a superb storyteller/frontman in the live environment, it will be interesting to see how this album transfers to that arena. With "Jesse Malin" back in the UK in April 07 we won't have to wait long to find out.

Now if only he would play "No Way Out " live again.

Oh well, I guess that will never happen when "Jesse Marmite" has solo stuff this strong to play.

4 out of 5

by Johnny H.

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