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

Zumindest der Preis für den längsten Albumtitel dürfte in diesem Jahr an Neko Case gehen: "The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You" besteht aus 17 Wörtern im Titel und 12 Titeln auf CD (oder LP). Diese pendeln zwischen alternativem Country ("Night Still Comes"), gitarrenlastigem Indiepop ("Man", "City Swans"), wie ihn ihre Band The New Pornographers sonst im Angebot hat, schlichtem, nur zur Gitarre ("I'm From Nowhere") oder a-cappella ("Nearly Midnight, Honolulu") vorgetragene Folksongs und psychedelischem Rock ("Where Did I Leave That Fire"). 
Ein kunterbuntes Allerlei, das von Neko Cases Stimme zusammengehalten wird und zu dem auch einige Gastmusiker (Kelly Hogan, M. Ward und A.C. Newman) ihren Teil beigetragen haben.

"The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You" erscheint 4 Jahre nach "Middle Cyclone", steht ab morgen in deutschen Plattenläden und ist das mittlerweile sechste Studioalbum von Neko Case.

Case’s voice bobs like a carefree duck chillin’ on a pond during swaggering closing number ‘Ragtime’. It’s a bristly, buoyant number splashed with fantasy and Kim Deal-like basslines; there are triumphant trumpets, ’60s lounge piano licks (and… clavinet?) that provide plenty of warm fuzzy-belly feelings and bolster self-esteem – just try and forget her mantra of “I am one and the same, I am useful and strange,’ repeated ad infinitum until the music halts.

‘Local Girl’ is similarly addictive. There’s light, continental guitar, waltzing blobs of bass and enormous chimes – though the record is intensely intimate and journal-like, the music is grandiose, embellished with all kinds of sonic filigree and intriguing aural trinkets. ‘Man’ is so jaunty and syrupy and sweet you’d think She & Him were involved – you’d be right in thinking so, as M. Ward does in fact lend guitar to the track. Folk ode ‘Calling Card’ takes flight through a shadow-dappled copse, showing that whilst Case may be in the throes of grief, there are still enough chinks of light to relish.

‘Where Did I Leave That Fire’, creeps onto our sonar with submarine blip-bloops and Mariana Trench darkness. Jaws-esque bass heralds Case’s chilling voice: “I shook off all the strength I’d earned/ I wanted so badly not to be me.” It’s creaking with introspective doubt and deals with the loss of identity; Case isn’t afraid to warp music to fit her tonal mould. Horror synths and alt. rock axes grind against filthy jazz sax and the shimmer of chromatic piano; above the faintly Gaelic folk drone, she weeps her epic Gothic dirge. ‘Nearly Midnight, Honolulu’, is bone-achingly furious and distressing (see: “Get the fuck away from me/ why don’t you ever shut up?” and/or “My mother, she did not love me,”) despite the fact it’s a cappella, with only a drop of reverb and layered harmonies/backing vocals detracting from Case’s flawless voice. Like ‘Hide & Seek’ by Imogen Heap, Case summons more than you’d ever imagine using less than you’d think possible.

Case’s record comes after a lengthy bout of what she labelled “grief and mourning.” Of confronting her inner turmoil, she said: “I had to look inward more than I wanted. It was sobering, and I often felt like I was blurring the lines of mental illness.” What was undoubtedly a turbulent time has birthed a record flowing with all manner of emotions, ranging from wide-eyed hope to white-knuckled rage. For Case, this is likely a cathartic effort; it’s improbable this path will be revisited, unless more tragedy befalls her, but it’s a tremendous listen and a wonderful demonstration of her talents nonetheless.
(The Line Of Best Fit)  

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