Neko Case Furnace Room Lullaby (Bloodshot)

SXSW Records

Record Reviews

Neko Case

Furnace Room Lullaby (Bloodshot)

Garbage. That's not an assessment of the material inside, but rather the look this Pac-Northwest denizen sports on the artwork of her sophomore croon-fest, Furnace Room Lullaby. Naturally, it's what's on the inside that counts, and Lullaby is a dazzling dozen-song excursion through the battered heart and temperamental humor that is Neko Case. From the shattered waif of opener "Set Out Running" to the angelic intro of "Porchlight" and the straight-up bitch of "Mood to Burn Bridges," Case pulls hairs and heartstrings with equal strength and does it with a unique vocal timbre to match each of her many moods. A little less country but not much more rock & roll than her 1998 debut, The Virginian, Case's latest, is blessed with slight sophistication (i.e. "No Need to Cry," with former Shadowy Man Brian Connelly pilfering his own riffs), and superb songwriting as she gets help from the likes of Ron Sexsmith and Sadie Travis Good. It's Case that makes it all stand up, though, and here's hoping all the punky-tonkers learn to make albums that are this pretty and pristine. (Saturday, Antone's, 11pm)

**** 

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