Jesse Malin: Outsiders

Rock’n’roll troubadour goes back to basics.

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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.

Classic Rock 215: New Albums H-Z

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Paul Moody is a writer whose work has appeared in the Classic Rock, NME, Time Out, Uncut, Arena and the Guardian. He is the co-author of The Search for the Perfect Pub and The Rough Pub Guide.