Tuesday, April 25, 2006

TBS Recommended: Neko Case- Fox Confessor Brings The Flood

This album is a giant step forward for Neko Case. While her earlier albums relied mostly on her impressive vocal chops, Ms. Case sounds much more restrained and mature on this record, letting the lyrics and arrangements carry the album instead. There is nothing on the album as flashy and diva-ish as "Deep Red Bells" from 2002's very excellent Blacklisted, but this album does fine without the flair. Instead of letting her voice soar simply for the sake of soaring, Case's delivery goes hand in hand with the development of her characters inside the songs, whether it is the frustrations of a perennial underdog in "Margaret Vs. Pauline" or the faith of a lovelorn single woman in "That Teenage Feeling." The tracks are generally short, yet packed full of a beautiful lyrical imagery only hinted at in Case's earlier work. Anyone who has taken a course on writing knows to "show, not tell" when telling a story. Fox Confessor Brings The Flood does this beautifully, sketching 12 separate stories with enough vibrant details to pique your interest into each track's deeper meaning, but leaving room for the listener to attach their own meanings to the songs. The instrumentation, arrangements and production all fit the album perfectly, giving the songs a solid foundation for Case to work her magic over. All of these qualities come together beautifully in "Star Witness," a haunting recollection of gang violence in Chicago that may very well be the best song released so far this year. It takes a lot of great songwriting to overshadow a voice like Case's, but Fox Confessor Brings The Flood is Case's way of asserting herself as an artist to be remembered as more than just a pretty voice singing old-fashioned country songs. Fox Confessor Brings The Flood is a startlingly mature album that truly gets better with each listen. Listen if you like: really good alt-country music, early Wilco, Gillian Welch, beautiful things.

Neko Case- Star Witness

Neko Case- That Teenage Feeling

On top of that, homegirl is smokin' hot:


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