If you're paying attention to blog buzz, one of the emerging trends of 07 is a celebration of all things Springsteen. Lucky for Jesse Malin, the NYC singer/songwriter ditched the tight trousers and glam hair of his D Generation days and jumped on the heartland-rock bandwagon just in time.
The writing on Glitter In The Gutter is meticulously detailed, mapping out hard-luck life stories in close-ups so extreme you feel like you can smell the sweat of the anarchist Black Haired Girl who stole Malin's heart. Radio's a constant escape, a form of redemption, a promise held barely out of reach. The kids are lonely and wild; the parents are blue-collar and broken. No wonder the Boss gave his thumbs-up, providing vocals on the track Broken Radio.
But Springsteen's plaintive cameo plays up one of Malin's weaknesses - he's not a great singer and tends to squeeze nasal phrases through clenched teeth in a way that obscures his keen writing. In his old glamcore days, Malin's affected voice might've been easier to overlook, but in this context, it can grow grating.
Malin rocks the Reverb Friday (June 8) at midnight.