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Jesse Malin: New York Before The War

First LP in five years; Wayne Kramer and Peter Buck cameo.

Jesse Malin’s ambitions for his follow-up to 2010’s Love It To Life are grand. As hinted at in the title, he wants to reclaim for rock’n’roll the primacy it had in the 20th century, when it was the dark stuff of city life.

He deplores the disposability of music in the mp3 shuffle era. Mind you, as a set of songs it works fine; from opener The Dreamers – a lonely, pianistic trudge along lamplit sidewalks gradually overwhelmed by a fuzz of guitar – to the more upbeat, almost Paul Simon-esque and sanguine Addicted.

Oh Sheena reinvokes the great rock’n’roll muse, while Freeway and I Would Do It For You featuring MC5’s Wayne Kramer and R.E.M.’s Peter Buck respectively, emphasise both rock’s heritage and a road that still lies ahead for the genre./o:p