Middle Cyclone

By

"I'm an animal," cries Neko Case on her fifth studio album, and there is something feral about her voice in full flight: It's a wild, woolly sound, part Patsy Cline, part coyote baying at the high desert moon. Case is joined here by some New Pornographers bandmates as well as members of Los Lobos and Calexico. The result is hypnotic alt–country twang, with reverb–slathered guitars ringing out over music-box plinks and moaning cellos. Her stories of lovesickness are full of oblique poetry like "She is the centrifuge that throws the spires from the sun." But her high, hard voice invests her most elliptical lines with warmth, longing and other emotions that any human animal can feel.

x