Fox Confessor Brings the Flood

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Fox Confessor Brings the Flood
Studio album by Neko Case
Released March 7, 2006
Recorded at Wavelab Studios, Tucson by Craig Shumacher, assisted by Chris Schultz, except for "At Last" recorded at Iguana Recording, Toronto by Darryl Neudorf & Sean Gugula, and intro to "John Saw That Number" recorded by Steve Chanley in the back stairway of the Horseshoe Tevern, Toronto; all tracks mixed by N. Case & D. Neudorf at Iguana, assisted by S. Chanley & S. Gugula
Genre Alt.country, folk-rock, Americana
Length 35:43
Label ANTI-
Producer Neko Case and Darryl Neudorf
Neko Case chronology
Blacklisted
(2002)
Fox Confessor Brings the Flood
(2006)
Middle Cyclone
(2009)
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars[1]
Alternative Press 5/5 stars[2]
The A.V. Club A-[3]
The Guardian 4/5 stars[4]
Pitchfork Media (7.7/10)[5]
PopMatters 8/10 stars[6]
Slant Magazine 4.5/5 stars[7]
Stylus Magazine C+[8]
Rolling Stone 3/5 stars[9]
Tiny Mix Tapes 4.5/5 stars[10]

Fox Confessor Brings the Flood is the fourth solo album by American alt-country musician, Neko Case, released March 7, 2006 by ANTI- Records. The album was found on many “Best of” lists that year and had a bonus disc released by ANTI- in November of the following year.[11]

Recording and Production[edit]

The album was recorded at Wave Lab Studios in Tucson, Arizona, except the beginning of "John Saw That Number", which was recorded in a stairwell at Toronto's Horseshoe Tavern; and "At Last", which was tracked at Toronto's Iguana studio. Case is backed by several collaborators, including bandmates Jon Rauhouse and Tom V. Ray, as well as frequent collaborators The Sadies, Giant Sand's leader Howe Gelb, vocalist Kelly Hogan, Calexico's Joey Burns and John Convertino, and Canadian cohorts Brian Connelly and Paul Rigby. Rachel Flotard of Seattle punk-pop combo Visqueen also guests, as does legendary multi-instrumentalist Garth Hudson of The Band. The album was engineered by Craig Schumacher and Chris Schultz, and produced and mixed by Neko Case and Darryl Neudorf. It has sold 194,000 copies in the United States up to December 2008.[12] The Fox Confessor Brings the Flood (Bonus Disc Version) was released November 6, 2007 which includes five additional songs.

Fox Confessor Brings the Flood was produced by Darryl Neudorf and co-produced by Case. This is her first solo album in four years. Neudorf helped mix, produce, and engineer other Case albums including "The Virginian" (1997), "Furnace Room Lullaby" (2000), "Blacklisted" (2002), "The Tigers Have Spoken" (2005), "Fox Confessor Brings the Flood (Bonus Disc Version)" (2007), and "Middle Cyclone" (2009). He helped produce and engineer for other artists such as Sarah McLachlan, The Sadies, and The Mohawk Lodge.[13]

The song "Maybe Sparrow" has a music video.

Regarding a cover of "Star Witness" by Canadian students Kate Macdonald and Janelle Blanchard, Neko reported via Twitter, "Wow. That just made me bawl my eyes out. What beautiful singers. I'm not worthy... Holy god. They broke the shit out of my heart!!"[14]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by Neko Case, except where noted.

  1. "Margaret vs. Pauline" – 2:52
  2. "Star Witness" – 5:16
  3. "Hold On, Hold On" (Case, The Sadies) – 2:46
  4. "A Widow's Toast" – 1:36
  5. "That Teenage Feeling" – 2:42
  6. "Fox Confessor Brings the Flood" (Case, Paul Rigby) – 2:42
  7. "John Saw That Number" (traditional, Case) – 4:06
  8. "Dirty Knife" – 3:18
  9. "Lion's Jaws" (Case, The Sadies) – 2:28
  10. "Maybe Sparrow" – 2:37
  11. "At Last" – 1:35
  12. "The Needle Has Landed" (Case, The Sadies) – 3:45

Musical Style, Writing, and Composition[edit]

Upon its release, “Fox Confessor” was praised as Case’s most stunning album for many reasons. Not only does the album cover a wide range of emotions from resentment, to pity, to despair, and passionate romance, but it does so in a variety of styles. Case blends gospel and early rock influences along with her country twang voice. The artist, herself, likes to classify her new style as “country-noir”.[15] In an NPR interview, Case tells of learning to be more dynamic with her powerful voice [16] and many critics agree that she does so flawlessly while creating a cinematic, mysterious, and suspenseful feel.

In “Star Witness”, Case leaves many details out and creates a distinct mood around a vague story. Much of the album is praised for such masterful weaving of emotion and suggestive description. Case offers that the songs on this album were created by writing a lot of words and paring them back so that it is not “overly literal”. She gives hints and helps her listeners to use their imagination to fill in the gaps. “That Teenage Feeling” is praised as a 50’s-style pop ballad that suggests a memory of intense and passionate love,[17] while “Hold On, Hold On” tells the story of the artist leaving a wedding reception, relieved to be alone, with drugs from the bride. In “John Saw That Number”, Case mixes words of “an old American spiritual with a musical idea from India” [18] and “Widow’s Toast” is an example of the artist creating “more space on the record” in order to make what is there stand out. Case began recording the track with a full band, but the removed all components for the final product save her haunting voice and a drone.[19] This track also deviates from the standard verse-chorus-verse structure of contemporary songs, making it a noteworthy addition to the album.

Inspiration[edit]

Most of the songs in this album are based on her life experience from her childhood until her adult age. She wrote the songs about her life experience uniting with a fairy tale (east European) story. Case said on one of her interview, "I've always been fascinated by fairy tales, But we really don't have fairy tales anymore. Movies have taken their place, and modern fiction seems to be in this rut of the coming-of-age story, which is getting really boring. I'm trying to find things on the outer limits of experience. I really love the Eastern European fairy tales because they're not only dark but they're also funny and not overly moral." (Chicago Tribune, March 12, 2006).

Personnel[edit]

  • Neko Case – vocals, acoustic & electric tenor guitars, acoustic & electric guitars, six-string electric guitar, tambourine, whirly bird, piano, hammer dulcimer
  • Garth Hudson – piano, organ
  • Mike Belitsky – drums
  • Paul Rigby – electric guitar, 12-string electric guitar, guitar loop
  • Joey Burns – acoustic guitar, upright bass, cello, nylon acoustic guitar
  • John Convertino – drums
  • Anne de Wolff – violin
  • Tom V. Ray – upright bass, bass
  • Travis Good – acoustic & electric guitars
  • Kelly Hogan – vocals
  • Dallas Good – electric & 12-string guitars
  • Sean Dean – upright bass
  • Rachel Flotard – backing vocals
  • Dexter Romweber – electric guitar
  • Howe Gelb – electric guitar, piano
  • Willie B – drums
  • Jon Rauhouse – banjo, Hawaiian guitar
  • Brian Connelly – acoustic guitar
  • Julie Morstad - artwork

Charts[edit]

Album[edit]

Year Chart Position[20]
2006 The Billboard 200 54
2006 Top Independent Albums 4
2006 Top Internet Albums 54

References[edit]

  1. ^ Allmusic review
  2. ^ Mojo review
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ The Guardian review
  5. ^ Pitchfork Media review
  6. ^ PopMatters review
  7. ^ Slant Magazine review
  8. ^ Stylus review
  9. ^ Rolling Stone review
  10. ^ Tiny Mix Tapes review
  11. ^ "Neko Case Fox Confessor Brings The Flood (Bonus Disc Version).". ANTI- Neko Case, Fox Confessor Brings The Flood (Bonus Disc Version). Retrieved March 18, 2012. 
  12. ^ Cohen, Jonathan (December 2, 2008). "New Neko Case Album Due In March". Billboard. Retrieved December 11, 2008. 
  13. ^ Operation Northwoods, "Darryl Neudorf Discography", "Operation Northwoods", March 15, 2012
  14. ^ "How to Break Neko Case's Heart: Sing "Star Witness" Like Angels". 
  15. ^ Kahn, Ashley. "Neko Case Surges Forward with 'Flood'". NPR Music. NPR. Retrieved March 19, 2012. 
  16. ^ Tucker, Ken. "Neko Case's 'Fox Confessor'". NPR Music. NPR. Retrieved March 19, 2012. 
  17. ^ Tucker, Ken. "Neko Case's 'Fox Confessor'". NPR Music. NPR. Retrieved March 19, 2012. 
  18. ^ Kahn, Ashley. "Neko Case Surges Forward with 'Flood'". NPR Music. NPR. Retrieved March 19, 2012. 
  19. ^ Kahn, Ashley. "Neko Case Surges Forward with 'Flood'". NPR Music. NPR. Retrieved March 19, 2012. 
  20. ^ AMG charts