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Album Review

Alejandro Escovedo, 'Street Songs of Love'

June 28, 2010

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If we stipulate that revered singer-songwriter Alejandro Escovedo makes good records — and he has been doing just that in various incarnations for 30 years — the question when he releases a new one isn’t “if’’ but “how’’ good it is. “Street Songs of Love’’ is among his very best and a worthy successor to 2008’s “Real Animal.’’ Escovedo worked up the songs over the course of several months in front of an audience, from acoustic barebones sketches to full-bodied band arrangements. That crafting provides an already lived-in feel that seamlessly integrates Escovedo’s rough-hewn vocal charms, Tony Visconti’s scrappy and straightforward production style, and the album’s love theme. Churning guitar rockers like “Anchor’’ and “Silver Cloud’’ bleed into contemplative ballads like the languid “After the Meteor Shower.’’ Sweet and sexy women are met and swooned over; loved, left, and longed after. “Down in the Bowery’’ gives a grizzled Ian Hunter a chance to espouse some late-in-life hope and Bruce Springsteen swings by to add his just-around-the-corner optimism to “Faith.’’ (Out tomorrow) SARAH RODMAN

ESSENTIAL “This Bed Is Getting Crowded’’

Alejandro Escovedo plays the Middle East Downstairs on July 19