Jesse Malin: New York Before The War

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

You can trust Louder Our experienced team has worked for some of the biggest brands in music. From testing headphones to reviewing albums, our experts aim to create reviews you can trust. Find out more about how we review.

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

David Stubbs

David Stubbs is a music, film, TV and football journalist. He has written for The Guardian, NME, The Wire and Uncut, and has written books on Jimi Hendrix, Eminem, Electronic Music and the footballer Charlie Nicholas.