07 February 2006

neko case - "john saw that number" (from the fox confessor brings the flood lp, released march 7, available for preorder here.)

in brief : st. neko the divine.

already in early 2006, four female singers are working almost the exact same turf, the american south to be exact. what immediately differentiates neko case from cat power, jenny lewis, and beth orton is the voice : it is not a wispy, cracked or raspy thing; it is a piercing thing, a rousing thing, a voice that gets straight to the heart, and the concealed regions, of a song.

"john saw that number" is on a traditional theme, the "john" in the title referring to both the baptist and the revelator, and an obscure old gospel tune. another difference between neko and the above : she could get away w/ singing a song like this, w/o radically reinterpreting it, and the amen corner would be none the wiser--and could, indeed, after such a performance, even forgive her for being in a band called the new pornographers and that whole posing nude thing. it is a good old-fashioned hand-clapper and toe-tapper, and a hit if country radio was as it used to be, and neko's voice rings out like seven trumpets. truly, for the nonfundamentalist, end times have never before seemed like something so worth looking forward to or singing about.

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