Wednesday, January 17, 2007


3. Neko Case - Fox Confessor Brings the Flood
Neko Case could easily build a career around her voice. I’d still buy her records. I have to acknowledge this fact before reviewing Fox Confessor Brings the Flood. I’d rather listen to Neko Case sing a song than anyone else in the world. I’d marry her and be her bitch for life if she’d promise to sing to me every night before bed. It’s that good.
And if that were all she had going on, an album of hers still might have crept into my top twenty for the year. It is most definitely, however, not all she has going on. Fox Confessor is her tightest and most lucid songwriting effort yet. She picks up where she left off with Blacklisted, weaving layers of reverb and ghostly melodies around her words. But where Blacklisted was meandering and unfocused at points, Fox Confessor is tight nearly from start to finish. The one song that I don’t really feel belongs is “John Saw That Number,” and it’s one of my favorites on the album. It just has a different tone.
The rest of the tracks are spare, almost gothic tales that bring to mind some of Bob Dylan’s best work, particularly Oh Mercy. I got to know just about every note on this album before I shook myself and remembered that she was actually singing words with that lovely, lovely voice. Case writes songs that are more like photo albums than narratives, snapshots that inform one another yet also deepen the mystery of the whole. She has grown as a songwriter by leaps and bounds, and these songs have much more staying power than those on Furnace Room Lullaby and even Blacklisted. And at the end of the day, it’s the songs that are the real stars here. They’re mature, literate, and surreal, and they take Case to another level as an artist.


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