Neko Case: Middle Cyclone (Anti-)
Perhaps in 30 years well look back at Neko Case with the same reverence that we do now with, say, Joni Mitchell as a true original. Will Case ever carry the same legendary stature? Hard to say, but it seems to me that legends are not as easily made these days.
Thats OK. We have Case right now, 38 years old and at the peak of her powers. Middle Cyclone is a more than worthy follow-up to 2006s brilliant Fox Confessor Brings the Flood. The new one builds on Cases heady blend of country noir and airy folk-pop, with oblique song structures stitching together melodies that at first sound a bit unlikely, but quickly ingrain themselves. This is boldly inventive, new-sounding stuff that somehow evokes an antique feeling. Postmodern roots music, a contradiction in terms. All of which equates to something like wisdom.
Case is among the few artists in contemporary pop who is a legitimate poet. Her lyrics are like funhouse riddles left wide open to listener interpretation, yet not so obtuse as to be precious.