Alejandro Escovedo

Street Songs of Love – 2010 (Concord)

Reviewed by Nelson Gullett

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CDs by Alejandro Escovedo

When Alejandro Escovedo went into a Lexington, Ky. recording studio this winter, he did so with the intention of recording a straight forward rock and roll record in the same vein as his previous release, 2008's "Real Animal." Escovedo enlisted the help of his road band The Sensitive Boys and "Real Animal" producer Tony Visconti to help him achieve that sound.

They delivered.

With the opening quartet of songs, from the punchy pop of the album starting single Anchor to the fiery funk of Street Songs, Escovedo brings as much energy as he has at any other point in his career. He matches it with later tunes such as the Bruce Springsteen duet Faith and the somewhat mis-titled Tender Heart. There's nothing tender in the way Escovedo and crew attack the material in front of them.

That's not to say that the album doesn't also show a softer side. The centerpiece is Down in the Bowery, a song Escovedo wrote for his teenaged son. It's a touching love letter of sorts from father to son and the most emotionally grounded song on an album that deals with love as a central theme, but doesn't always view it the most positive light. Escovedo deals with a tangled affair in This Bed is Getting Crowded, meditates on obsession in the Velvet Underground inspired After the Meteor Shower and feels the sting of unrequited feelings in Undesired.

Escovedo's songwriting doesn't draw from his own personal history as it did on his previous record. By dealing with such a universal topic this time around, he has assured that there's something here to resonate with each listener...and rattle their walls as well.