Neko Case's 7th album is maybe her biggest sounding, most produced album, brimming with guests, including Mark Lanegan, k.d. lang, Eric Bachmann (Archers of Loaf, Crooked Fingers). She has that kind of voice that can really sing just about everything, and I don't think she's ever made a bad album.
I wouldn't say I was disappointed with this release, but I came away with a certain indifference about it, and that wasn't what I was expecting. This artist is a major talent, there is no argument there, but to me, this release seems to be in a holding pattern for this artist.My preference release wise is still ' The worst things get...' (2013) where I feel she really shone.
Sometimes I wonder if Neko Case found the crossroads where Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil and made a similar bargain because her discography is one of the most consistent you are going to find and she shows absolutely no signs of backing down as one of our finest songwriters and most devastating singers.
At once like her previous albums and at the same time different, Hell-on is Case's most collaborative, produced by Bjorn Ytling of Peter, Bjorn and John, and featuring members of both her other outfits New Pornographers and case/lang/veirs. The feeling is more orchestral, more swelling, with her alto not always the center of the affair as before. Lyrically however, it's all we expect, with beautiful and mysterious phrases that turn around and around in your head as you think about them. "Wish I could trace the frowning compass of your mouth,
Drop a mercury dime down a Roman drain and summon Mars" she sings on Last Lion of Albion. Don't ask, just savor it.
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