Alejandro Escovedo, Big Station

Bill Murphy

By Bill Murphy

on 06.05.12 in Reviews

Big Station

Alejandro Escovedo
Brimming with self-recrimination, apocalyptic rage and Clash-like swagger

For all the heartbreak, tragedy and near-death experiences he’s suffered in his lifetime, Alejandro Escovedo could go head-to-head with Roy Orbison. The same is true of his passionately incisive music, which continues to gleam like a rock ‘n’ roll razor. The third installment in the Austin-based singer-guitarist’s ongoing collaboration with Chuck Prophet and producer Tony Visconti, Big Station brims with self-recrimination (“Headstrong Crazy Fools”), apocalyptic rage (“Sally Was a Cop”) and Clash-like swagger. (“It ain’t no thing, I can take a punch, I can take a swing,” he snarls over a Chuck Berry-worthy riff in “Man of the World.”) But, true to his poet’s spirit, Escovedo never gets so angry that he alienates; “Party People” and “Common Mistake” (with its fantastic drum machine-Farfisa breakdown) are raucously groovy enough to call up his new-wave roots, while “Never Stood a Chance” unspools with tingly foreboding over a Lynchian lost highway. At this point in Escovedo’s storied career, it’s almost a cliché to ask the question, but we must: Why the hell isn’t this guy a star yet?