Alejandro Escovedo Record Review
Burn Something Beautiful (Fantasy)
No matter the trappings of individual songs, from a lone fiddle or cello to a 15-piece orchestra, Alejandro Escovedo always based his music on the sound of a guitar. Burn Something Beautiful follows 2012's Big Station with guitar sounds unlike any he's used previously. Credit the fact he co-wrote these 13 tracks with R.E.M.'s Peter Buck and the Minus Five's Scott McCaughey, two other guitar freaks looking for fresh ideas who receive producer credit. This time their axes sound nothing like you might expect: squawking, pealing, grinding, and occasionally going off in directions unknown. Still, these are Escovedo tunes, equal parts glam rock and the street poetry he's celebrated for, all worthy of succeeding the late Lou Reed. He starts off strong with the over-driven love song "Horizontal," loses his way a bit with the experimental, yet jocular "Shave the Cat," and redeems himself with the snaking beats of riff rocker "Luna de Miel" (Honeymoon). No one song stands apart, but Burn Something Beautiful hangs together as one of Escovedo's most entrancing works.