Fox Confessor Brings The Flood

Neko Case

Anti, 2006

http://nekocase.com

REVIEW BY: Jeff Clutterbuck

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 01/10/2007

Whenever a new year starts up, I usually take a few weeks to “catch up” on the previous 12 months. Is it a form of reminiscing? Maybe, but the fact of the matter is that there is a lot of music that I miss out on. The various Best Of lists and articles provide fodder for me to chase after and help me narrow down what I failed to notice.

Case in point: Fox Confessor Brings The Flood. This was a disc I’d heard about a few months ago, but never took the time to investigate further. Shame on me. Neko Case sounds like one of those rare talents that deserve the spotlight.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

It’s hard for me to categorize this record in any typical sense; Case effortlessly flows and blends different genres in the pursuit of her vision. There are hints of country, gospel and rock; in fact Case comes off as a one-woman Wilco. Dashes of Fleetwood Mac (“Fox Confessor Brings The Flood”), the Mamas and the Papas (“Hold On, Hold On”) also pepper the mix. This is a decidedly “American” record, but it’s not the often-hokey style of Americana.

Much like Joni Mitchell’s Blue, Fox Confessor… is the sound of a woman baring her soul in as many ways as possible. The production here is absolutely stunning and a perfect fit for the true focus of Case’s words. Her lyrics are much more poetic than anything Dylan wrote on Modern Times; the imagery is evocative yet personal. Lines like “Oh fox confessor please / Who married me to these orphaned blues / It's not for you to know, but for you to weep and wonder / When the death of your civilization precedes you,” are enough to provoke hours of analysis.

Case herself is quite impressive in many ways, but her vocals stand out. While unique to be sure, I was reminded of a young and vital Stevie Nicks. At no point during Fox Confessor does Case step up the mike and just belt out the notes a la Christina Aguilera. She is a little more subtle and much more melodic than Mitchell, demonstrating a welcome sense of restraint that suits the material.

It’s a shame this album came to my attention at the current time; had I heard it back in September or October it could have been on my Best Of list [Editor’s note: It appeared on two of our writers' "Best Of" lists for 2006]. For a near-perfect slice of female singer-songwriter craftsmanship, look no further than Fox Confessor Brings The Flood.

Rating: A-

User Rating: A-


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