A Man Under the Influence
Intimate and personal, a perfect blend of orchestral sweep and glam rock swagger. A true masterpiece.
A Man Under the Influence is Alejandro's wonderous exploration of the emotional terrain of love and loss and redemption. It is at once both ghostly and literary. In these times of manufactured drama and cheap emotions, it's easy enough to talk of such things, but Alejandro remains the rare artist who can crawl inside these themes and explore them both intimately and personally. This record is a masterful expression of all that makes us look within as well as to the horizon. With unflinching conviction, Alejandro squares his shoulders and through his music faces up to all that life has to offer, for better or worse.
Paying special attention to arrangements and textures, in order to, as he puts it "make the melodies as strong as the lyrics, Alejandro renders Man as a cinematic whole. The rocking "Velvet Guitar" is as expansive and brimming with regret and disappointment as any John Ford epic. The opening tracks, "Wave" and "Rosalie" speak to the separation, patience and romance of an immigrant family; the latter telling the true story of separated passionate lovers who wrote letters to each other for seven years before reuniting and marrying. Speaking of weddings, we've gotten so many letters from fans over the years telling us they used "Wedding Day" as "their" song.
This is remarkable material, and we haven't even yet mentioned the song about the foxy, arhythmic castanet player "Castanets" that was his show-stopper for years and is pretty much 3 minutes and 30 seconds of perfect rock and roll.
Produced by Chris Stamey (db's) in North Carolina, Man features many performers from Alejandro's band of usual suspects, (Hector Munoz, Eric Heywood, Cornbread, Brian Standifer, Joe Eddy Hines), but also a lot friends from the area chipped in their talents: Ryan Adams, Chip Robinson (The Backsliders), Caitlin Cary and Mike Daly (Whiskeytown), Mac MacCaughan and John Wurster from Superchunk, Tonya Lamm (Hazeldine), Squirrel Nut Zipper's Chris Phillips and indie rock icon Mitch Easter.
The result is a perfect blend of orchestral sweep and glam rock swagger.