Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Jesse Malin

  • The Fine Art of Self Destruction [Artemis, 2003] A-

Consumer Guide Reviews:

The Fine Art of Self Destruction [Artemis, 2003]
Not grunge, not punk, not "hard rock," D Generation had positioning problems that songs would have cured in a jiffy. Say they were the part of Aerosmith that loved the Dolls, only so much scruffier and also something else. Which on this Ryan Adams-produced solo debut turns out to be "roots" or "Americana," and before you snort too loud consider David Johansen's progress toward Harry Smith. Those who seek movement in their music will find the arrangements boxy, and Malin may yet learn that real men aren't supposed to keen as if mourning their faithful hound. The voice asserts itself as the record sinks in, however, and not only does each song stand out, but the production variegates a sonic grandeur grounded in the rock verities--check Adams's stutter-step guitar on the title track, or the corrida echoes of "Almost Grown." What Malin mourns has urban roots--a maturing alt dweller's ills, details provided and remedies hopefully adduced. A-

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