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March 27, 2006 12:00 PM

Fox Confessor Brings the Flood

ALT-COUNTRY

After another stint with the New Pornographers on last year’s Twin Cinema, Neko Case gets back to her own alt-country territory. Her fourth solo studio disc is not exactly for the Carrie Underwood crowd: It’s a challenging, sometimes dark mood piece—no radio-ready ditties here—that rewards the patient listener with its evocative arrangements and Case’s poetic sensibility. Although the singer-songwriter forgoes the obvious hooks, the CD is rich in details and layers that reveal themselves on repeated spins. On one standout track, “Dirty Knife,” she weaves a grim tale of a descent into madness against an ominous backdrop of bowed bass and cello. Case also turns her haunting, Patsy Cline-esque voice to a reworking of the traditional folk song “John Saw That Number,” while offering this striking confession on “Hold On, Hold On”: “The most tender place in my heart is for strangers/ I know it’s unkind but my own blood is much too dangerous.”

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DOWNLOAD THIS: “Dirty Knife”

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