Urban Desire is Genya Ravan creating music on her terms after artistically successful work with producers Richard Perry, Jimmy Miller, and Jim Price, along with the three strong albums she recorded with Ten Wheel Drive. As producer of the prototypical punk band the Dead Boys and their classic single "Sonic Reducer," Ravan was an essential part of the new wave explosion of the '70s, which was a blend of punk rock and power pop. Urban Desire is the quintessential new wave album, and though it caused a stir, it has never fully been recognized as the groundbreaking work it is. A driving cover of the Supremes hit "Back in My Arms Again" has guitarists Conrad Taylor and Ritchie Fliegler fragmenting Deep Purple's "My Woman from Tokyo" riff under Ravan's brilliant New York party atmosphere. That comes right after her duet with Lou Reed, a tune called "Aye Co'lorado," one of the album's highlights written by Ravan and keyboard player Charlie Giordano. Classic girl group vocals, blues sensibilities, and the hard edge of underground rock & roll are the ingredients that propel "Jerry's Pigeons" and "Cornered," while a John Cale signature tune, "Darling, I Need You," becomes a barroom brawl -- and that's thanks to the band assembled for this: Bobby Chen on drums, Don Nossov on bass, along with the aforementioned Fliegler, Taylor, and Giordano. Ravan's harp playing pushes "Messin Around," which keeps up the intensity -- and volume. Joe Droukas, who would author the successful "Junkman" duet with Ian Hunter on Ravan's next outing, ...And I Mean It, brings the disc to a close with his third composition on Urban Desire, a tune called "Shadowboxing." Genya gets mellow with this performance, which feels like Ten Wheel Drive meets the Rolling Stones at the "Memory Motel." A bit of a different groove from the equally profound ...And I Mean It, which was released a year later. Both recordings would make a fine combination on CD.
AllMusic Review by Joe Viglione