Reviews:: Neko Case Fox Confessor Brings the Flood

I decided to end the year by posting about two albums I've loved but never talked about. The first is Neko Case's new record. I know why I've overlooked Neko's fabulous album; everyone else was already talking about it. When you start reading page after page in major publications, it makes writing about a record, no matter how fantastic, a little irrelevent.

Neko Case's latest album - The Fox Confessor Brings The Flood - is quite simply put, amazing. Not only for the music (which is great), but for the growth she made as a country artist with this effort. From the opening notes of Margaret and Pauline to the closing notes of the smokey, gritty Needles Touched Down, the unexpected star of the show is Neko's lyrics.

Each song tells a story. While that seems evident, very few artists manage to draw you in to the characters and images they are using. With what appears to be simple lyrics (The most tender place in my heart is for strangers, I know it's unkind, but my own blood is much too dangerous) Neko forces you to relate to the characters. Her descriptions are like a well written, easy to read novel. You are free to imagine your own settings, but she subtley exposes your emotions.

The record is incredible diverse, as she dabbles in atmospheric, rock, traditional country, roots and almost every style in between (even an almost doo-wap feel on That Teenage Feeling). It's the most production on any of her albums, but the honesty and sincerity is never lost.

Neko's always been backed by great musicians (The Sadies are more talented than they are ever given credit for and this time around she grabs help from Calexico and Howie Gelb), but this record is all about her. On tracks like John Saw That Number, despite the jangley piano, Neko steps forward and lets her voice become the instrument you focus on. This year featured a lot of artists evolving into a more rootsy, alt-country style. This inexperience showed gaps and limitations in a lot of records (Jenny Lewis for example), but Neko blossomed and hopefully she's going to be known for more than her contributions to the New Pornographers and new fans will dive into her back catalog.

MP3:: Hold on, hold on
MP3:: Star Witness
web page :: label :: more tracks

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