14 Songs, 39 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Part Patsy Cline, part David Lynch, Blacklisted is a tense, torchy masterpiece for which the label “alt-country” seems pitifully inadequate. Set under the low, uneasy skies of the Pacific Northwest, where serial killers roam, blackbirds fry on wires, and planes flown by lady pilots reel in the sky, the album showcases not only the naked power of Case’s remarkable voice but also one of the most evocative musical visions in pop today. Other than a pair of covers — including a furious version of Aretha’s “Runnin’ Out of Fools” — the songs here are all Neko’s. Slow, minor-key, and soaked in layer upon layer of reverb, they employ moody time signatures, Hawaiian slide guitar, pump organ, Wurlitzer, and upright bass in a lush blend of country, blues, jazz, and soul that wouldn’t sound out of place coming from a Philco radio. The best of a very fine bunch is “Deep Red Bells,” with its sinuous rhythms, booming baritone guitar, and characteristically spooky, elliptical lyrics. And then there’s that voice, a force of nature if ever there was one: big, untrained, simmering with emotion, it could carry an album much less sophisticated than this one. It’s a credit to Case that her musicianship and her ambition live up to the size of her pipes.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Part Patsy Cline, part David Lynch, Blacklisted is a tense, torchy masterpiece for which the label “alt-country” seems pitifully inadequate. Set under the low, uneasy skies of the Pacific Northwest, where serial killers roam, blackbirds fry on wires, and planes flown by lady pilots reel in the sky, the album showcases not only the naked power of Case’s remarkable voice but also one of the most evocative musical visions in pop today. Other than a pair of covers — including a furious version of Aretha’s “Runnin’ Out of Fools” — the songs here are all Neko’s. Slow, minor-key, and soaked in layer upon layer of reverb, they employ moody time signatures, Hawaiian slide guitar, pump organ, Wurlitzer, and upright bass in a lush blend of country, blues, jazz, and soul that wouldn’t sound out of place coming from a Philco radio. The best of a very fine bunch is “Deep Red Bells,” with its sinuous rhythms, booming baritone guitar, and characteristically spooky, elliptical lyrics. And then there’s that voice, a force of nature if ever there was one: big, untrained, simmering with emotion, it could carry an album much less sophisticated than this one. It’s a credit to Case that her musicianship and her ambition live up to the size of her pipes.

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