Ryan’s mate fails to shine
Based on the sum of its parts, Jesse Malin’s third album should be a whiskey-drinkin’, tobacco-spittin’ trek down the dusty paths of country rock’s hallowed legacy. Despite boasting special guests Bruce Springsteen, Jakob Dylan (Bob’s son), Josh Homme and best friend Ryan Adams, Malin has his fingers in too many pies. In fact, he’s become to Americana what Gwen Stefani is to hip-pop – a parasitic charlatan failing to upstage impressive collaborators. While the New Yorker would happily have us believe his tales of a life of road-trips and regrets, the inclusion of his showbiz pals proves that Malin lacks the requisite soul to render his tales of yore believable. From the pretentious Oscar Wilde-referencing album title to the Bon Jovi-esque guitars which grate throughout (‘In the Modern World’ particularly), this stinks of trying too hard.