Sure, Escovedo’s newest album has a lot of love, but, more importantly, it’s got a lot of sex. Escovedo, 60, and his aptly named backing band the Sensitive Boys don’t need to croon to drop panties. Instead, Escovedo amps up his enduring rock-’n’-roll charm. The San Antonio-born, Austin-nurtured roots rocker once again teams up with songwriter Chuck Prophet to pen seductive lines like, “If your love was a ship, I’d pull your anchor, and I’d christen it,” on rollicking album opener “Anchor.” Prophet and producer Tony Visconti (David Bowie’s producer circa Young Americans) contributed mightily to Escovedo’s 2008 release Real Animal, and again helps Escovedo toe the line between slick Americana and glistening glam on ballads like “Down in the Bowery” and the anthemic “Undesired.” You can literally hear Bruce Springsteen on the nondenominational, non-George Michael “Faith,” and Ian Hunter (of Mott the Hoople) lends his vocals to “Down in the Bowery,” further cementing Street Songs’ genesis in the earthy rock of the late 1970s. But we swoon most for straight-up Escovedo, as on “Silver Cloud,” which pairs “me, Tarzan, you, Jane” lyrics (a sample: “Hey pretty thing, won’t you come inside, I’m a man, I’m a man, I’m a man, I’m a hungry man”) with a punk bass line, and “Tula,” featuring a world beat that piques the predatory instincts. Escovedo made his name with his intensity and passion, but this album especially highlights his vitality, and that’s what makes it so damned sexy.
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