Neko Case: Fox Confessor Brings the Flood 

Everybody talks about Neko Case's voice. It's unique, dramatic, and definitely ear-catching. But there's more to her than just a pretty voice.

Case could be considered a female version of Bob Dylan. Her songs might not be as obscure as his, but she's got him beat, at least recently, when it comes to album titles. What's with a title like Fox Confessor Brings the Flood? In spite of that, this CD contains an interesting mix of punk-tinged alt-country.

In addition to featuring her songwriting--and, of course, her voice--this album includes other musicians of note. On piano and organ is Garth Hudson, the virtuoso keyboardist who played in the '70s roots-rock group The Band. Joining Case for background vocals are two other female musicians: Kelly Hogan, part of the opening act for Case's current European tour, and Rachel Flotard from the Seattle power-pop trio Visqueen.

With Hudson, Hogan, Flotard and others helping her, Fox Confessor is one of this year's standouts. Case's songwriting is superior, her musical production is notable and even the album art is impressive. She's got an ear, a wide-ranging network of accompanists to draw on and that talked-about voice to make it all work.

--Curt Nichols

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