Alejandro Escovedo

A Man Under the Influence (Bloodshot)

Record Reviews

Alejandro Escovedo

A Man Under the Influence (Bloodshot)

Five long years after his big shot at international acclaim, 1996's handsome With These Hands on Rykodisc, Austin's high priest of velvet rock is back to the masterful form that produced his first two local releases, '92's rapturous Gravity and its bookend, Thirteen Years. Whereas the old cow-punk's first two efforts for Chicago's home of twang, Bloodshot Records, held their ground -- 1998's live career summation More Mile Than Money: Live 1994-'96, and '99's odds and sods one-off Bourbonitis Blues --third time's obviously the charm as A Man Under the Influence staggers forward with the grit and grace of its author's human condition. Suite-like in its sad melodies and thematic thrust, Escovedo's sixth full-length finds him in his natural state: bloodied but unbowed in the face of love's continual dissolution and regeneration. Producer and former dBs-er Chris Stamey deserves credit for the LP's overall cohesion of sound, while Escovedo has stripped his usually spare songwriting style to a simple, fully matured organic whole. Certainly the fact that melancholy openers "Wave" and "Rosalie" are taken from Escovedo's play By the Hand of the Father figures into the equation; the album plays like one song that keeps unfolding in Cassavettian emotional turmoil. Uptempo rockers "Castanets" and "Velvet Guitar" are welcome, but it's the mournful, midalbum trilogy of "Don't Need You," "Follow You Down," and "Wedding Day" that define A Man Under the Influence with their world-weary romanticism. I'll have whatever he's drinking.

****

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 36 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Music Reviews
Texas Platters
Bright Light Social Hour
Jude Vol. 1 (Record Review)

Alejandra Ramirez, Feb. 8, 2019

Texas Platters
Charlie Faye & the Fayettes
The Whole Shebang (Record Review)

Libby Webster, Feb. 8, 2019

More by Raoul Hernandez
Gary Clark Jr. Packs Antone’s for Spotify Exclusive Event
Gary Clark Jr. Packs Antone’s for Spotify Exclusive Event
Homegrown bluesman debuts This Land

Feb. 12, 2019

Austin Terror Fest Drops the Big One
Austin Terror Fest Drops the Big One
Third year comer triples down at Empire & Barracuda June 7-9

Jan. 23, 2019

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle