Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Neko Case - Fox Confessor Brings the Flood

After a week's worth of spins I'm not sure if I'm ready to proclaim this a masterpiece on par with Blacklisted, but I'm close. My first impression left me cold; it seemed that Neko had turned a brighter corner and traded in her gruesome/horrific imagery for a more palatable style of writing, but it turned out I was grossly wrong. Blacklisted, an album that was playing constantly wherever I went (seriously, each morning I would listen to it getting ready, then take it to the car, then take it into work with me, then take it back to the car, then take it in and listen to it in the evening) for months had a hypnotic and droning quality to it that I couldn't shake. Her strategy seemed to be "get them hooked with the droning guitars so they won't notice what I'm singing, and then once they do it's too late." But on Fox Confessor her strategy has shifted to seduction; the opening track "Margaret vs. Pauline" is almost festive with the circus calliope organ and Neko's voice more of a sultry coo than the deep wail of Blacklisted's opening "Things That Scare Me." Thematic similarities don't begin to appear until the second track "Star Witness," but even relatively innocent "Margaret vs. Pauline," a tale of two women with starkly different lives, features the gruesome comparison "Two girls ride the blue line/Two girls walk down the same street/One left her sweater sittin' on the train/The other lost three fingers at the cannery/Everything's so easy for Pauline." "Star Witness" brings Neko back to her thematic element (is there such a thing as country goth?), but her voice and the music is still more pleasent than menacing and continues to be through most of the record. It's a disquieting feeling, thinking how beautiful a harmony is when it sings "Hey there, there's such tender wolves 'round town tonight" during a song about kidnapping and murder, but it's that weird duality of beautiful voice and horrific imagery that is her appeal. I was thoroughly impressed by Case's continued ability to haunt and even repulse, yet draw her listener in to the point where there's no turning back no matter how dark the path grows, and though I haven't obsessively listened to Fox Confessor like I did Blacklisted, it's getting there.

Official Site (Listen to the album here)

Lyrics

Performing Hold On, Hold On on Leno

2 Comments:

Anonymous nico said...

I've been meaning to purchase this. I can't seem to get the player on her website to work though. :(

7:24 PM  
Blogger Dantzler Smith said...

I have to say that I have been completly drawn into this cd. Its an excellent effort. I'd have to highlight the songs: that teenage feeling, lion's jaws, hold on hold on, and star witness.

4:48 PM  

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