All fans of Alejandro will be absolutely knocked out by his upcoming release. His first studio recording in 5 years, "The Boxing Mirror" breaks new ground and then some. Add in John Cale as producer, and you get a mix of new songs that at once sound completely new as well as familiar at the same time. "Sacremento & PolK' gets a new reworking as well. How could it be any better than the original? Just wait until you hear it!
may yet have a happy ending, but you wouldn't guess it from this torrent of surrealism and gothic textures. Escovedo's first album since nearly succumbing to hepatitis C and crushing debt in 2003 is the darkest, most mysterious album of his career--a harrowing, poetic soundscape partly the result of producer John Cale's industrial-noir sensibilities, but also Escovedo's own avant-garde punk roots. The difficult trilogy which opens the album moves from arid Arizona (a wasteland where the soul finds nary a drop to drink) to a conversation with a "dear head on the wall" that becomes a negative Zen poem ("The sadness will come / When there is no one") to a cryptic vision of a buck trampling a wandering doe. Writing with his wife, poet Kim Christoff, as well as Chris Stamey and guitarist Jon Dee Graham, Escovedo isn't just confronting his own mortality and the mistakes which plunged him into a nightmare. He's courting a danse macabre
for the sounds and poetry he finds there. On "Sacramento and Polk" he surveys a bohemian hell through a "Thorazine haze," while the Princely groove of "Take Your Place" only seems like a discordant funk party until the lyrics sink in: "I'm going down, down, down / There's nothing here." Escovedo's voice has weathered the physical ravages, caressing all the Mexican nuances out of the synth- and cello-sweetened "Evita's Lullaby" and breaking beautifully on the country ballad "Died a Little Today," which, like each of these emotionally concentrated tracks, is as literal as it is elusive. --Roy Kasten