Thursday, March 16, 2006

Fox Confessor Brings the Flood

It’s the voice that captures your attention first…it’s the voice that captures your attention and holds it fast. Neko Case…indie darling, remarkable singer-songwriter, New Pornographer…has a voice filled with passion and power, confidence and heartbreak, the soaring and beguiling mixture of “absolute torch and twang” that K.D. Lang once championed before she gave up the twang.

Fox Confessor Brings the Flood (no, I’m not sure what that means even after hearing the song of the same name but that doesn’t matter even a little bit) is a shimmering, utterly gorgeous collection of 12 melodic, poetic songs that are neither country nor pop but rather an intoxicating blend of the two (with the stellar musicianship defying any facile pop sheen to take hold.

From the opening acoustic lilt of “Margaret vs. Pauline” to the gospel swagger of “John Saw That Number”…from the wondrous harmonies of “That Teenage Feeling” (an updated version of one of those plaintive girl-group ballads from the 60’s) and the bittersweet “A Widow’s Toast”…from the ominous, yet strangely beautiful, murder ballad “Dirty Knife” to the gently-propulsive pop lilt of the closing “The Needle Has Landed”, this record never takes a wrong turn. And Case’s voice…which, oddly and engagingly enough, often seems to be booming and soothing in the same instant…shines brightly and wonderfully from beginning to end.

Fox Confessor is a grand record indeed.

No comments: