Tuesday, 3 March 2009



Neko Case follows in a long tradition of amazing US indie female songwriters. This talent comes coupled with a staunch and fresh appreciation for the country twang that mature and hip audiences appear to admire and desire these days. I’m not really quite sure why this is but certainly Neko Case fits into the pretense of being both a rough and wholesome example of this kind of spirit.

The Neko Case audience is not your traditional country fanbase. This is a more lefty and considered set of people, folk more inclined to be sympathetic to such a lady’s apparent plight. With this in mind it serves to make the audience easier to dupe, to cloud when proceedings become cheesy. In a way this record and the relationship between audience and listener is really quite patronizing on many levels.

From this is Throwing Muses without the chops at which point the question becomes: can the voice and lyrics carry this record? Not to my knowledge. Occasionally it sounds like Kristin Hersh fronting Mazzy Star which isn’t necessarily a promising thing.

There appears to be two forces tugging at this record and these are the desire of directions. One is country and the other is indie. Both are worlds inhabited by oddballs but one is structured towards existing in a green belt while the other a grey belt. As the majority of the listenership exists in the latter but yearns the former it all becomes something of an effort it would seem to keep everybody happy.

For some reason I keep labouring the fact of the audience. I just can’t get with how country music has seeped into alternative rock in recent times. I don’t think they make for good bedfellows and often they seldom have more in common that just being performed and listened to by middle class white people (some might say the educated). Why should I take exception to this? I just find snobbish, a gesture towards exclusivity.

Back to the music and with “Prison Girls” a true moment of greatness is hatched in the most beautiful and emotive of songs singing of a pained and convincing existing that culminates in a sense of realistic resignation, acceptance and grudgingly attained beauty. If only the rest of the record had sounded like this. There is an infuriating inconsistency attached to this album.

Sometimes you cannot force yourself to like a record that you were destined to hate.

Thesaurus moment: trailer.

Neko Case

No comments: