The latest offering from Alejandro Escovedo is a powerful musical diary entry. It is a quirky and catchy and completely pleasant album that is nicely polished – produced by old Escovedo friend Tony Visconti - and unique.
This is Escovedo’s 10th solo album and he continues to write charming, sharp, witty, touching songs each and every time. He is a master songwriter and touches souls in a way that never goes wrong, similar to Damien Jurado or Mark Kozelek of Red House Painters and Sun Kil Moon.
His sound is a mix of Elvis Costello, Billy Bragg, and Jurado. His background was in punk bands and he still rocks out, but the beauty of his songs is the musical texture, and the ebbs and flows.
Real Animal is a 13-track effort put out on Back Porch/Manhattan Records and is Escovedo at his finest. He is brash and beautiful on the album, plaintive and playful, alt-country, punk rocker, and troubadour. He always writes and sings in a straightforward way and the lyrics are personal stories from a private notebook. On “Sister Lost Soul” Escovedo sings about the sadness of losing loved ones “Nobody left here unbroken/Nobody left her unscarred/Nobody here is talking/That’s just the way things are/ You had to go without me/You wandered off alone/And all the neon light reflecting off the sidewalk/Only reminds me you’re not coming home.”
The song “Chelsea Hotel ‘78” tells the story of a man living in a rock 'n' roll hotel “And it makes no sense/And it makes perfect sense.” A couple songs just have feel good lyrics about friendship and goodwill “People (We’re only gonna live so long)” and “Always a Friend,” and “Swallows of San Juan,” and “Slow Down” are downbeat ballads. Every song is infused with Escovedo’s unique viewpoints, heartache, and joy.