Malin’s last album, New York Before The War, was a star-studded tour de force featuring contributions from everyone from Wayne Kramer and J Mascis to The Hold Steady’s Craig Finn.
Having scaled such peaks, his eighth solo album is the sound of the inevitable comedown that follows. Recorded during late-night sessions in the Pennsylvania woods, at its best – a meditative San Francisco, a stripped-back Edward Hopper – Malin achieves a spooked, backwoods boogie you presume he was aiming for.
However, while there’s a genuine sense of desolation – notably on a mournful acoustic cover of The Clash’s Stay Free – the subdued feel and over-reliance on clichéd themes and arrangements drains its power.
Ultimately, Outsiders is the sound of a talented songwriter kicking over the ashes of his past rather than finding a fresh spark.