74.) Neko Case - Fox Confessor Brings the Flood (2006)
Well, would you look at that - two Neko Case-related entries in a row. Huh?
Neko Case is, without a doubt, one of the premier artists of this decade. As noted in just the last post, her work with The New Pronographers has been nothing short of sublime, but her solo output has been just as strong (As a matter of fact, when all is said and done I think Neko will be the most represented artist on this list). Prior to the release of Fox Confessor in 2006, Neko released, up to that point, her strongest solo studio effort with Blacklisted in 2002. A couple of Pornos records as well as a nice little live record in between and then this...which saw Neko take her game to the next level and she hasn't relinquished her spot at the top since.
Blacklisted is good, but Fox Confessor Brings the Flood is incredible. You can call Neko's solo work alt-country all you want and I don't frown on "alt-country" as a rule its just Fox Confessor is not alt-country. I don't know what it is really. It's a woman with a strong point of view and, what I assume to be, some serious creative control making records that sound (cliche alert-apologies) like a little bit of everything and then ultimately nothing else.
Someone, somewhere (I think AllMusic) said that Neko is part Patsy Cline, part David Lynch. I'm not going to try and describe her any better than that. There's an eerieness that runs through Fox Confessor and, for whatever reason, it's not off putting in the slightest - in fact it's intriguing. It feels like there's a mystery in there that needs to be unraveled and maybe that's why I keep going back to it. The joy, though, is in not uncovering the mystery because once you do there's no need to go back.
All told, Neko's got one of the strongest weapons in music and that is her voice. I love it so much because it's strong and still subtle. She never beats you over the head with unnecessary runs even though she could. I think she respects the music too much.
Fox Confessor Brings the Flood is not a pop record (she leaves that to her work with the Pornos). I like to call it backwoods Americana. It's haunting, but it's sexy too. If that makes sense. It's the kind of record that would sound right at home playing while you sit in the dark fending off flies on a bayou somewhere while you sip moonshine. If that even exists. If it doesn't this record could sure as hell score a great fictional movie about it.
Posted by Pat Driscoll