I’m not a huge fan of great voices in music–I’m much more about the lyrics, and if the musician croaks that’s just fine. But Neko Case is one of those performers whose voice hooks me in. I would probably be quite happy hearing her sing the phone book. But she also has killer lyrics, and a shifting country/pop/rock sensibility that means her CDs share certain commonalities but also have enough differences to make her consistently interesting. Also, some albums are performed with her Boyfriends back-up band, and some aren’t.
Her latest, “Middle Cyclone,” is mid-tempo for the most part, and reveals its secrets stealthily. Some songs like “Mother Earth” are never going to be for me, but on balance this is another fine CD, with lots of little subtle touches. It doesn’t hurt that the CD ends with ten-plus minutes of soothing tree frog croaking, titled “Marais La Nuit”.
One particular lyric that stood out:
“I love your long shadows
and your gunpowder eyes.”
And, this, which makes sense even though I can’t tell you what kind of sense:
“Humming helicopters through the blades of a fan.”
Anyway, I’d rank this in the middle of my Neko Case collection–it’s indeed a middle cyclone–but since I like all of her stuff, that’s not a bad thing.