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.
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