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CD Review: Alejandro Escovedo 

Street Songs of Love (Fantasy)

It's hard to pinpoint why Austin singer-songwriter Alejandro Escovedo hasn't managed to break through to mainstream music fans after 30 years of cult stardom. He's survived substance abuse, life-threatening health issues, and the indifference of listeners. Street Songs of Love isn't any likelier to be his breakout record. In many ways, the album is a continuation of 2008's Real Animal, with Tony Visconti once again producing and Chuck Prophet co-writing the songs Escovedo and his band, the Sensitive Boys, play. The record's theme is declared right up front in the Stonesy lead track "Anchor": "I'm in love with love/And it broke me in two." When Escovedo turns it up and bears down, he snaps and snarls with the searing power of influences like the Stooges and Mott the Hoople in "Silver Cloud," "This Bed Is Getting Crowded," and "Tender Heart." And when he slows it down and opens his soul, he touches nerves with a poet's sensitivity and a surgeon's skill in "Down in the Bowery" and "Fall Apart With You."

Brian Baker

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