When last heard from (by me, anyway), one-time Ten Wheel Drive vocalist Genya Ravan was turning out covers of tunes like Leonard Cohen’s “Bird on the Wire.” Now, after an apparently major turnabout, she’s back with Urban Desire, an album that aims straight for the heart of punk. In fact, the LP hasn’t missed a trick in its effort to embrace every aspect of punk/new wave. From the LP title and lyrics to the flashy cover art—where red ink predominates and Ravan poses a la Patti Smith—punk is the word.
Because Ravan jumps with both feet onto so many bandwagons, I can’t help but suspect that her stance is calculated mainly just to sell records. Be that as it may, she sure sounds enthusiastic; and the bottom line is that, for the most part, she also sounds terrific.
Highlights include a raunchy remake of the Supremes’ “Back in My Arms Again,” the nostalgic “Jerry’s Pigeons” and “Aye Co’Lorado,” which boasts a brief, excellent guest spot by Lou Reed. Also featured are a trio of first-rate compositions by Joe Droukas, a little-known, often-interesting artist who had been on my missing-persons list for quite some time.