Neko Case,
Fox Confessor Brings the Flood
(New West, 2006)

Neko Case is amazing.

I love a voice that sucks you up in a whirlwind of feeling, and she's got one. She's completely stripped clean, like the chimed sound of true crystal. She's conversational, but so tuneful you have to hang on each phrasing. Her lyrics often make no sense, but they make poetry, and it makes me wonder if words are the sum of their meaning, or if when placed in seemingly random ways can become more meaningful by the feeling they evoke.

That's what I'm taking away -- a feeling of a mystery woman whom I don't understand, but nevertheless relate to.

The songs are eclectic and diverse, and they charm with a fairy-tale feeling of otherworldliness.

I first was caught by the song "Pauline," which reveals how our name determines our personality and luck in life -- a thing I've always suspected but never thought others might, too. On "Hold On, Hold On" (a musing on life alone in your 30s and whether or not to hold on for a partner to love) she sounds like a cross between Reba McEntire and Elvis Costello, which surprisingly sounds very good. "That Teenage Feeling" is a spin around the roller rink of my elementary school days. I don't know why, but when I hear it, I'm whirled back to the disco lights dancing at Rollerama.

I've heard Neko compared to Brenda Lee, and I'd toss in Patsy Cline and Edie Brickell as well. On this album she collaborates with the Sadies, Howe Gelb of Giant Sand, singer Kelly Hogan, Joey Burns and John Convertino of Calexico, and others. Guitar, banjo, pedal steel (a style of horizontally played guitar) and backing vocals give Case's voice a platform to fly from.

For me it's all about the vocals and lyrics; they make an album or break it. Neko gives me what I need.

review by
Katie Knapp

4 August 2007

what's new