12 Songs, 36 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

By turns mournful, defiant and forgiving, Neko Case secures her stature as Queen of Alt-Country on Furnace Room Lullaby. Her sophomore album more than lived up to the promise shown on her debut album The Virginian — this time, her gutsy vocals are matched by a fully-realized songwriting talent. Case spreads her wings as a honky-tonk angel on such bruised-up ballads as “Twist the Knife,” “We’ve Never Met,” and “Bought and Sold.” Not all is torment though – “No Need to Cry” is a sensuous torch number, delivered with a honeyed caress and she reaches the opposite extreme on “Porchlight,” the very definition of a high ‘n’ lonesome tune. When Case grabs hold of an upbeat stomper, she’s a force of nature, as the likes of “Mood to Burn Bridges” and “Whip the Blanket” show. Most affecting of all is “Thrice All American,” a bittersweet salute to the faded virtues of her Tacoma, Washington home. Case gets sturdy support from the Boyfriends, a flexible cast of players including roots-rock guitar hero Evan Johns and sterling steel guitarist Bob Egan, but ultimately it's the brilliance of her performances that make this an uplifting experience.

EDITORS’ NOTES

By turns mournful, defiant and forgiving, Neko Case secures her stature as Queen of Alt-Country on Furnace Room Lullaby. Her sophomore album more than lived up to the promise shown on her debut album The Virginian — this time, her gutsy vocals are matched by a fully-realized songwriting talent. Case spreads her wings as a honky-tonk angel on such bruised-up ballads as “Twist the Knife,” “We’ve Never Met,” and “Bought and Sold.” Not all is torment though – “No Need to Cry” is a sensuous torch number, delivered with a honeyed caress and she reaches the opposite extreme on “Porchlight,” the very definition of a high ‘n’ lonesome tune. When Case grabs hold of an upbeat stomper, she’s a force of nature, as the likes of “Mood to Burn Bridges” and “Whip the Blanket” show. Most affecting of all is “Thrice All American,” a bittersweet salute to the faded virtues of her Tacoma, Washington home. Case gets sturdy support from the Boyfriends, a flexible cast of players including roots-rock guitar hero Evan Johns and sterling steel guitarist Bob Egan, but ultimately it's the brilliance of her performances that make this an uplifting experience.

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