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Alejandro Escovedo, ‘Real Animal’ (Manhattan/Back Porch)

Alejandro Escovedo has tackled a bit of everything during the past three decades, and the enthralling Real Animal presents a concise overview of the man’s art and life, encompassing the punk fury of the Nuns, the country-rock twang of Rank and File, the rootsy guitar assault of True Believers, and the late-era tortured, string-quintet balladry that showcases his unbearably sad voice. Though he’s admittedly “tangled in the past” (celebrating lost friends and lovers), Escovedo never lets romantic nostalgia take over. The thrashing title track salutes the undying spirit that makes fleeting moments of grace possible, even in the darkest hours.

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Tags: Albums