Seven days. Fourteen tracks to cover. This is the challenge that Jesse Malin embarked on for his album, ‘On Your Sleeve’.
The concept behind the album is admirable, if slightly self-involved. Malin covers over a dozen artists that have inspired him and his musical style in some way. With his vocals, reminiscent of a cross between John Rzeznik of the Goo Goo Dolls’ and The Pogues, he calls on artists including Tom Waits, Neil Young and Lou Reed for some of their most renowned tracks.
The album, as with Malin’s career, does demonstrate the singer-songwriter’s diversity. But whilst certain tracks like The Kill’s ‘Rodeo Town’ suit Malin’s folk style, other more adventurous covers like Sam Cooke’s ‘Wonderful World’ is pleasant but far from the original’s standard.
Fans of Malin and his distinguished style will doubtlessly enjoy this inside look into the artists that have moulded his passion for music and the people that he looks to for inspiration. However, this is unlikely to be true for many others who may be less impressed with the collection of somewhat sombre tracks that when covered, appear to lack something the classics originally emanated with such ease.