Music » CD Reviews

Neko Case

Fox Confessor Brings the Flood (Anti)


Like any self-respecting alt-country artist, Neko Case would probably love to leave behind alt-country -- and the negative connotations the term's overuse has spawned -- for good. The well-deep voice that earns deserved comparisons with Patsy Cline has made it difficult for Case to escape the tag, but she was covering Scott Walker as far back as her 1997 debut, and she's been the female foil of Canadian alt-rock supergroup the New Pornographers for nearly a decade. Her fifth solo album places her squarely in the genreless no-man's land of the supremely confident artist: Drawn in equal measure from '60s pop, soul, and Nashville, it nonetheless manages to avoid both slickness and clichés.

But her insistence (or her publicist's, at least) that Fox Confessor is a collection of fables hints at its flaw. Steeped in the southern-gothic arcana that took Case's one-time touring partner Nick Cave a long time to outgrow, the album's Faulkneresque poetry makes some numbers -- "Dirty Knife," in particular -- nearly inscrutable. Her haunted voice fills in a lot of subtext, but a more direct approach could have brought this flood to many more parched souls.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club for as little as $5 a month.