Jesse Malin & St. Marks Social
"Love it to Life"

(SideOneDummy Records 2010)Jesse Malin & St. Marks Social - Love it to Life

If the biography accompanying Jesse Malin’s new release, "Love it to Life," is to be believed, he nearly gave up music in the time after his last album, a collection of covers called “On Your Sleeve,” was released in 2008. But apparently the crisis wasn’t too serious because, lo and behold, two years later Malin has a new album out.

Upbeat and feel good tracks like “Burning The Bowery,” “All the way from Moscow” and “St. Mark’s Sunset” deliver the album’s requisite doses of light pop rock and, what’s more, they do so without getting too sugary. The sentiment continues with the pure pop chorus of “Disco Ghetto.” Elsewhere Malin isn’t as obvious; he hasn’t lost his optimism but it’s certainly more measured. Closing track “Lonely at Heart” is a thoughtful ballad, “The Archer,” with its rich, heartwarming melody sounds like it could have been a Joseph Arthur track as the speedy and slightly sloppy instrumentation of “Black Boombox” reminds of Malin’s roots.

Malin and his new band, St. Marks Social, deliver a solid and respectable collection of songs with “Love it to Life.” But at certain times when listening to the album, it’s easy to wish that Malin had pushed himself a little bit further and perhaps done something a little less straightforward and outside of the box. It’s a good effort and one that begs for a replay or two but Malin’s “Love it to Life” isn’t as memorable as it could have been.

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