Recommended: Jeff Klein – The Hustler
A few months ago I received a sampler of the new Jeff Klein CD The Hustler, in stores today. I was surprised by what I heard. While much of the advance press surrounding Jeff compared him to Ryan Adams (and there is some of that), what Hustler brings is a much more complicated but still highly recognizable sound. When the full release arrived a few weeks ago, I was blown away.
The Hustler is devoid of filler tracks. Every song stands on its own merit. They all act as pieces in a larger puzzle, described softly and slowly by Jeff’s often Lanegan-esque vocals.
Greg Dulli’s contribution is obvious in the production. The Hustler is dark, moody, and set up like a film score. That’s not to say that there aren’t bright spots of hope scattered throughout the record. “Suzanne” is a bouncy AM throwback with Chicago-style horns. “Nearly Motionless” is a beautiful, immaculately assembled track with the instrumentation building and climaxing into the open-air chorus.
The title track stands alone as the most Dulli-influenced work and could settle right next to “Number 9” as one of the most melancholy and desperate songs of recent memory. The quality of Jeff’s voice and lyrics is heartbreaking.
Long story short, if you’re a fan of The Twilight Singers, there is a lot to love on this album. Highly recommended.