Covers albums are often looked down upon as a cheap way for artists to make money. More often than not, they're infact an interesting insight into the music that drives your favourite artists, although this frequently makes them one left to the fans. Those of us who know Jesse Malin will know that anything he releases is recorded for love of the music, and those who fell in love with his cover of 'Bastards Of Young' on last album, 'Glitter In The Gutter' will be highly excited by the prospect of this new covers album full of the Brooklyn singer's favourites.
Malin's enthusiasm for his chosen tunes is apparent from the get go as he brightens up Neil Young's 'Looking For A Love'. As testament to the fact that this project was more than a quick cash-in, the booklet accompanying the album explains Malin's choice of songs with touching titbits that remind us that however much dedicated music fans criticise musicians, they're also heartfelt fans of music themselves.
The Ramones 'Rock N'Roll Radio' has a sly spark and maintains its fizzing energy taking on Jesse's raw rock style. There's another fix of blasting punk from Lords Of The New Church in the form of the frantic, 'Russian Roulette', which Malin pulls of perfectly. The addition of keyboards to Jesse's standard sound is very much predominant here, something that will perhaps excite fans as The Stones' 'Sway' is given a sexy makeover with sultry synths.
'Me And Julio Down The School Yard' reflects the folk roots that emerge in a lot of Malin's material, here with rambunctious percussion and sly guitar riffs. It's not all classic tunes that inspired the young Malin though, The Hold Steady's 'You Can Make Them Like You' gets a stripped down acoustic makeover and sounds as delicious as ever with Jesse's drawl. The Kills' 'Rodeo Town' is turned into a smoking, mellow number that shimmies with rushes of giddy rock excitement.
There's shoegazing tenderness in, 'Wonderful World', which is almost a tearjerker and the beautiful, 'Operator', which has a real gentle conviction to its dewy-eyed tale. 'On Your Sleeve' is a beautifully orchestrated collections of songs which clearly have a real resonance for Jesse Malin; each one is treated with passion and respect and given a touching new form.