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Jesse Malin
THE HEAT
(Artemis)

For his second solo album since disbanding the NYC glam-punk outfit D Generation, singer Jesse Malin aims for what he calls a " í60s Phil Spector/Andrew Loog Oldham Rolling Stones feel" and actually comes close. The road to the cut-out bin is paved with ambitious pretenders, but Malinís scruffy rock-star charm informs not just his look but the lyrics and the sounds that surround him. He writes in quick, pointed jabs that praise street people and the rock-and-roll lifestyle ("Stevenís selling marijuana uptown to the prima donnas/Medicate the counterculture 9/11 baby boom") with attitudinal nods to the musicís wasted ghosts, from Keith Richards to Johnny Thunders to Paul Westerberg, all the while mining the upbeat Springsteen trade for a warmer, softer sound that in its blurry haze of guitar-organ-backing vocals might trick itself onto the radio. At 14 tracks, the album feels like an overpacked short-story collection with more peripheral hanger-ons than Jack Kerouac could handle. Lonely city girls move upstate ("Silver Manhattan"), politics get him down ("New World Order"), prostitutes accept their fate ("Arrested"), and Malin packs his party with enough friends (Pete Yorn, Ryan Adams, David Poe) to transform the entire sad showcase into a meltdown celebration.

BY ROB OíCONNOR


Issue Date: July 16 - 22, 2004
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