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Picks and Pans Review: Mexican Moon

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Concrete Blonde

There can be no denying the power and the glory of a full-throttled voice let loose, and Johnette Napolitano knows it. Over the course of four albums (this is the fifth), her band, Concrete Blonde, has made forceful, adult rock and roll that demands attention. Napalitano has a voice that pulls no punches; it is alternately passionate, tough, playful and aggressive, but always womanly.

For close to a decade now, Concrete Blonde has languished around the cult-band hinterlands. In a perfect cosmos their dramatic, gothic, guitar-laden, guts-and-soul music would dominate the music charts. Perhaps Concrete Blonde’s intensity is just a little bit too real for a generation that was weaned on facade, for there is nothing phony or cute on this disc. The proof of that can be heard in songs like the cascading “Heal It Up” and a faithful cover of Roxy Music’s “End of the Line.” Even in its quieter moments, Mexican Moon seethes with emotion. (Capitol)