Jeff Klein

The Hustler (One Little Indian)

Phases and Stages

Jeff Klein

The Hustler (One Little Indian)

As a protégé of notorious cad Greg Dulli, Austin's Jeff Klein is cut from the same crushed-velvet cloth, the disheveled Don Juan who's irresistible and knows it. Given Dulli's production of The Hustler, Klein's third LP, it's not exactly surprising that the album's contents are postmarked from the corner of narcissism and despair. The local songwriter dedicates the album to himself, and best articulates its theme on "Ironside": wandering "between the brave and being scared," by way of contempt ("How about another pity fuck before you fall asleep") and self-loathing ("I can't pick you up without sinking down"). Par for the Afghan course so far, but Klein has more range than Dulli. The Hustler's musical poles are the sleepy drum-machine lullaby "Pity" and crimson rocker "The Red Lantern," enfolding space-pop ("Ironside"), electro-noir Rufus Wainwright ("Cobalt Blue"), and Foxtrot-era acoustic Tweedy ("All I Want"). Like his songs, Klein's voice is indelibly stained by endless nights of scotch and nicotine, but somehow much smoother, more effective on the conversational "Put You to Sleep" than on emo misfire "The 19th Hole." So ladies beware: Although The Hustler's diversity cancels out its sleaze factor somewhat, there's more than enough sex and sin to go around. (CD release: Friday, July 15, Parish)

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Category:Album Review

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