Neko Case, Fox Confessor Brings The Flood (Anti, 2006)

Over the past five years, Neko Case has built a strong following among fans of alternative country and folk rock, due to her powerfully alluring voice and her intriguing, often cryptic songs. With her latest effort Fox Confessor Brings The Flood, Case aims for even more mystery and a deeper ambiance. Most of the album floats along on a sea of echo and reverb; the surface may seem tranquil, but some dangerous, disturbing undercurrents lurk beneath. Even the album's artwork conveys the same dark mystery that the songs do. Only the rousing traditional gospel song "John Saw That Number" breaks from the overall feel of the disc. The moodiness of the album will definitely please some more than others, but songs like the title track and "Dirty Knife" have an undeniable potency to them, and the layers of complexity in the lyrics and melodies reward repeated listenings.

Liking Fox Confessor Brings The Flood requires both an attention span and a willingness to let your mind venture through some dark places. The journey is made easier, at least, by some great performances on the disc. Case's voice remains superlatively strong, and her greatest selling point. She also has suurounded herself with a small group of close friends who also happen to be great musicians, including guitarist Paul Rigby, backing vocalist Kelly Hogan, the members of the Canadian retro-rock band The Sadies, and The Band's legendary keyboardist Garth Hudson. The dark feel that permeates Fox Confessor Brings The Flood makes it hard for me to recommend it to everybody, but those who find beauty in darkness will find much to like about it.

Overall grade: A-

No comments: