Most collaborations between two strong artistic personalities such as Alejandro Escovedo and Chuck Prophet would be doomed from the start, but Real Animal is like adding a turbocharger to a Ferrari V-12. When the duo isn't powering through snarling rockers like "Real as an Animal," they mine a beautiful counterpoint tension with smoldering, soulful tunes like "Golden Bear" and "People (We're Only Gonna Live So Long)." And the brilliant tightrope walk of "Nuns Song"—about Escovedo's earliest punk band in San Francisco—is as unforgettable as the Nuns themselves ("It's 1978, we know we're not in tune, we know we'll never be great").
Now a longtime Austin-area resident, Escovedo has made fine records throughout his career, but stoked by Prophet's energy and guitar creativity, and with David Bowie producer Tony Visconti at the helm, Real Animal is an easy candidate for most interesting and, perhaps, best rock album of the year.
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