Neko Case


Blacklisted

Neko Case - Blacklisted ©2002 Bloodshot Records
1. Things That Scare Me
2. Deep Red Bells
3. Outro With Bees
4. Lady Pilot
5. Tightly
6. Look For Me (I'll Be Around)
7. Stinging Velvet
8. Pretty Girls
9. I Missed The Point
10. Blacklisted
11. I Wish I Was The Moon
12. Runnin' Out Of Fools
13. Ghost Wiring

For her third album, the aptly named Blacklisted, Neko Case abandons pure country for something in the Twin Peaks universe. With one foot in the solemn alt-country that defined her career on previous albums and the other in the world of smoky torch songs and moonlit conifers, Case has crafted an album that drifts between warm remembrances and foreboding glances into the future. Dissonant guitar chords are employed to maximum effect, sounding out in traditionally arranged country songs, offsetting folksy whimsy with underlying dread. Hailing from Tacoma, Washington, Case has drawn upon Lynch's mythology to create a nearly filmic album, as much a testament to the Pacific Northwest's rural mystique as a confessional for her own experiences growing up there. When her music doesn't aim at unsettling the listener, as with the vague orientalism of "Pretty Girls" or the jagged cutting of the title track, it imbues the listener with a gentle sadness. "Ghost Wiring", Case's best performance on the album, is replete with the melancholy of leaving home, of casting off for alien lands. Her voice, cracking with bitterness but also soaring with love, rides over the drifting percussion and haunting guitar ambiance like a siren of nostalgia. Her pained lilted singing wins the day, the perfect compliment to the dreamy nighttime music. Drawing on the dark noir powers of a mythical Washington and her own regret and yearning to recapture the past, she has created a country album of rich and sustained beauty, a loving tribute to a time and place that existed both in actuality and imagination, a convergence of a life remembered and a place dreamt of.

Review by James Slone

Review date: 03/2003

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