Fox Confessor Brings The Flood

Neko Case

Anti, 2006

REVIEW BY: Shane M. Liebler


It's so hard to peg down the feeling of the sun striking your chilly arm hanging out the car window on a spring day. Neko Case comes pretty damn close.

The lofty, reverb-laden vocals of this redheaded stranger harness all the intangible energy, whim and wonder of post-equinox days past, present and future with shocking clarity on her fourth studio release.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

The sound of her adept backing ensemble, which includes cameos from the Band's Garth Hudson and kindred spirit Kelly Hogan, lay out the wholesome, rootsy Midwestern flavor your grandfather might have blared out the '47 Chevy on a juncture from Chicago to St. Louis. Case, too, sports a Patsy Cline-evoking hum as she pours tales of jealousy, animals, love and pain over 12 pristinely produced vignettes.

Most striking are the warm, familiar tones not unlike mom's Toll House pushed up against some of the best poetry this side of Carl Sandburg. It's a progressive idea built on traditional arrangements that induce random fits of singing along. It's brilliant.

"Trees break the sidewalk / And the sidewalk skins my knees / There's glass in my Thermos / And blood on my jeans," she recants on "Star Witness," a haunting recreation of a fatal teenage car accident.

"That Teenage Feeling" taps similar James Dean vibes with its dusty sound and lines like, "But now my heart is green as weeds / Grown to outlive their season / And nothing comforts me the same / As my brave friend who says / I don't care if forever never comes."

The rather rocking arrangement of "John Saw That Number" further blurs the lines of which era she's shooting for. "Will I ever see you again / Will there be no one above me to put my faith in / I flooded my sleeves as I drove home again" well accompanies the dark twang of the title track.

This is not just soundtrack for the road trip; it's a volume to be cherished as part of life's grand journey, sunburns included.

Rating: A-

User Rating: A-



© 2006 Shane M. Liebler and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Anti, and is used for informational purposes only.