He might of released a full length album in March of this year but there’s really no stopping American rocker Jesse Malin because he’s back again with his raw album Outsiders. He uses a large mash of elements from various genres in each of his songs: some almost have an old school country vibe while others are full of classic rock hooks and the gritty nature of grunge with them all aided by Malin’s raspy vocals.
Hitting the grunge aspect of Outsiders is The Hustlers, a sultry tune describing a bitter romance, or lack thereof. This message is rounded out with a snappy beat that turns into something much deeper that emphasizes the raw, spoken word style of the verses with Malin stating, “she’s my baby, I don’t love her”. Every element of this track is enhanced by the use of brass instruments and clashing symbols, it’s a foot stomping tune that closes out with a crash of instruments representing the big, bold nature of this track. This crazy, all in kind of song is balanced on the earlier half of the record with Here’s The Situation, noting a similar theme, this time featuring a frantic rhythm with vocals to match. It’s full of electric riffs and a hurried drum beat making the energy in this quite intense.
Malin was definitely planning to go big or go home on this one but it unfortunately comes off a tad messy. Each track has a plethora of elements that don’t always come together as smooth, cohesive tracks on a well-rounded album. It’s quite the disappointment because some tracks are really well executed like closing number You Know It’s Dark When Atheists Start To Pray. It pulls of the subtle country melody with a punchy beat brought together with trumpet toots. It then finishes off with a band of instruments to really sign the album out, but others like San Francisco and Edward Hopper just fall flat with their meek melodies and uninspired hooks.
It’s a bit hard to see Jesse Malins vision for Outsiders when your ears are hearing too many things for your brain to process. But if you focus on the tracks individually you’re able to see a personal journey played out in a relatively inspired manner.