Friday, July 04, 2008

Alejandro Escovedo's 'Real Animal'
lives up to its billing, title, passion and all the rest ...

"Always a Friend," is like some guideline to practical relationships in an age of social networking ... sharper ... "Chelsea Hotel," faster if muddier, image-laden, darker, a specialty for Escovedo with it's careening solos, lots of stuff rolling by about an incredulous crowd, a chorus hinting at the narcissism of the poet, and, wow, just what was that angelic riff, I mean the string instrument, for "Sister Lost Soul." Always turned chamber rock it a one-of-a-kind thing, didn't he. And then comes, "Smoke," and a heavy beat and the notice this band is sounding like the best act in America this summer, if you're old enough to "get it," buy beer but choose not to, but still spry enough to go see it all played live, with David Pulkingham and Chuck Prophet on guitars, Josh Gravelin on bass and Hector Munoz on bass. I've got nothing left to do, really, but to echo Jonathan Demme in the liner notes, "Thanks for the life-changing experience." Then he goes into standing on the shoulders of the greats: bluesmasters, maybe Bowie, then Patti Smith ... with words and words and words ... so many wonderfully metered words ... "Nuns Song" and "Chip N Tony" has still shows us how he's ready to rock out like one of the unheralded road soldiers of tis time ... like Neil Young with Crazy Horse in "Real As An Animal," or better yet, without, but still better, yet, when you want something more straight ahead without the feedback or two much buzz ... and then he takes down the pace for three out of the four more songs, with a lilting, loving bone-true set of haunting melodies set to chamber electro' he's always been known for, when he really had you, lovies, at "Smoke."