Alejandro Escovedo

The Crossing (Yep Rock)

Texas Platters

While preview single "Outlaw for You" plus word of cameos from James Williamson (Stooges) and Wayne Kramer (MC5) indicated Alejandro Escovedo's 12th studio LP might lean punk, The Crossing doesn't boomarang back to the Texan's slam-rock roots. Instead, teamed with Italian cinematic rockers Don Antonio, he and group leader Antonio Gramentieri become Mexican Diego and Italian Salvo searching for the America of the New York Dolls, Ramones, and Jack Kerouac. "I saw the Zeros and they looked like me/ This is the America I want to be!" exults Diego on "Sonica USA," alluding to Javier Escovedo's L.A. punks. Trump's America unfolds in proxy: "America is beautiful, America is ill," snarls Escovedo on "Teenage Luggage," one of his most withering songs. In a canon rife with autobiographical heartbreak (Gravity) and elation (Real Animal), purely conceptual pieces such as 2002's By the Hand of the Father suddenly seem rarer than they should. The Crossing proves another way forward for our one-man Johnny Thunders, Joey Ramone, and Neal Cassady.

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