(Side One Dummy)
Despite an impressive pedigree, one bolstered by street
savvy and unapologetic insurgency, Jesse Malin’s yet to attain the journeyman
status he’s aimed for. All the elements are there; indeed, Ryan Adams, Jakob
Dylan, the Foo Fighters’ Chris Shifflet, and Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone
Age have all given their nods, and a Bruce Springsteen tribute, Light Of Day found his version of
“Hungry Heart” among the album’s highlights. And yet, after a trio of
exceptional albums, greased by grit and petulance, he’s yet to find his place
as part of that precious pantheon.
Still, there’s continued cause for optimism that Love It To Life will bring the recognition
he deserves. Although he’s effectively distanced himself from his early punk
trappings, he’s still as riveting as ever, commanding melodies that are swept
along with stirring conviction and adrenalin-fueled voracity. The songs defy
any attempt to shuffle them out of a place that’s front and center; direct and
tenacious, they demand instant attention.
From the anthemic martial pulse of opener “Burning the Bowery” to the
fiery drive of “Disco Ghetto,” “Revelation” and “Burn the Bridge,” these tunes
amount to an insistent call to arms, as compelling as anything Bruce and the
boys mustered at their peak. Malin’s long since come of age, and ultimately, Love It To Life becomes an entreaty
that’s impossible to ignore.
Standout Tracks: Burning the Bowery,” “Disco Ghetto,” “Burn the Bridge” LEE ZIMERMAN