August 30, 2013 6:01 pm

Neko Case: The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You

The Vermont-based singer-songwriter brings a nicely judged ratio of darkness and light to her music in this album
 

Neko Case’s superb 2009 album Middle Cyclone catapulted her from indie fringes to the mainstream charts.

But there’s no triumphalism on the follow-up, which opens with a sad, feedback-tinged number about her mother’s death, Case singing clear, measured vocals over rumbling guitar chords as though searching for a rationale.

Accompanied by a fine line-up of backing musicians (M. Ward, Howe Gelb, members of My Morning Jacket and Calexico), the Vermont-based singer-songwriter brings a nicely judged ratio of darkness and light to her music, turning a hard-hitting tale of emotional neglect into a moving a cappella spiritual (“Nearly Midnight, Honolulu”) and reaching a tentatively resonant conclusion in “Ragtime” as growling alt-rock vies with optimistic trumpet calls.


Neko Case

The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You

(ANTI)

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