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Jeff Klein - The Hustler


Review: Jack Foley

AMERICAN singer-songwriter, Jeff Klein, describes his latest album, The Hustler, as 'pretty much a documentation of a year of my life'.

It was recorded in New Orleans and marks something of a departure from the stripped down Everybody Loves a Winner, encompassing the indie-rock influences he grew up with, as well as the inspiration he derived from being in the Deep South.

It even features contributions from Ani DiFranco, Soul Asylum’s Dave Pirner and Afghan Whigs/Twilight Singers auteur Greg Dulli, who co-produced it with Mike Napolitano (Blind Melon, Joseph Arthur) in an atmosphere suited to Jeff’s darkly sexy, sometimes disturbingly intimate songs.

This dark yet intimate style is best exemplified in one of the album's outstanding tracks, Ironside, which features some terrific guitar riffs and an atmospheric style, as well as some welcome female vocals from an Australian exotic dancer Jeff met in a New Orleans bar.

If Ironside marks the album at its most brooding, however, then Nearly Motionless finds it at its most mainstream, showcasing Klein's ability to switch gears and right something that drips with pop melodies.

His husky voice remains intact throughout the album, yet can sway between deeply pensive to energetically upbeat.

Nearly Motionless is a terrific example of the artist's vocals at their most soaring.

Also strong is the catchy Stripped, another track that displays its indie-rock heritage, while the piano-led Cobalt Hue is a slow-builder that gives way to some telling percussion.

Occasionally, the album feels a little too sombre and naked for its own good, but for the most part it's a successful effort that marks Klein out as one of the most enigmatic artists working in America at the minute.

The Hustler is an excellent listen that should win Klein a new army of fans.

Find out more about Jeff Klein...

Track listing:
1. The Hustler
2. The 19th Hole
3. Nearly Motionless
4. Suzanne
5. Ironside
6. Stripped
7. All I want
8. Cobalt Hue
9. Pity
10. Put you to sleep
11. The Red Lantern
12. Nobody’s favourite girl

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