Middle Cyclone

Middle Cyclone

4.7 10
by Neko Case
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

Neko Case looks formidable on the cover of Middle Cyclone, brandishing a sword in one hand while crouching low on the hood of a muscle car. It's mostly camp, of course -- the sort of superwoman image that Quentin Tarantino might have used for Death Proof's ad campaign -- but it also draws contrast with Case's pastSee more details below

Overview

Neko Case looks formidable on the cover of Middle Cyclone, brandishing a sword in one hand while crouching low on the hood of a muscle car. It's mostly camp, of course -- the sort of superwoman image that Quentin Tarantino might have used for Death Proof's ad campaign -- but it also draws contrast with Case's past albums, two of which featured moody shots of the songwriter sprawled on the floor, ostensibly knocked out. Middle Cyclone isn't the polar opposite of Blacklisted's downcast Americana; there are still moments of heartbreak on this release, and Case channels the sad cowgirl blues with all the nuance of Patsy Cline. Multiple years in the New Pornographers' lineup have brightened her outlook, though, and Middle Cyclone balances its melancholia with some of the most pop-influenced choruses of Case's career. "I'm a man-man-maneater," she sings on "People Got a Lotta Nerve," a snappy gem of vocal harmonies and jangled guitars. The mammal metaphors continue with "I'm an Animal," where a coed choir hums a wordless, hooky refrain. These songs are still filled with earth tones -- they may even pitch their tent closer to the folk camp than Carl Newman's power pop -- but their venture into brighter territory is a confident one. Of course, Neko Case already explored the animal world with 2006's Fox Confessor Brings the Flood, and Middle Cyclone devotes more time to weather, nature, and the stormy atmospherics provided by her backup band. There are few voices as haunting as Case's alto, and she flaunts her vocal chops over a number of semi-ballads, from the cinematic "Prison Girls" (a country-noir love letter to someone with "long shadows and gunpowder eyes") to the sparse title track. She does a surprise duet with chirping birds during "Polar Nettles" -- a result of the pastoral recording sessions, which took place in a barn -- before tackling a cover of Sparks' "Never Turn Your Back on Mother Earth," whose title very well may be the album's mission statement. There's still room to tackle love from the perspective of different characters -- a man in "Vengeance Is Sleeping," a disbeliever in "The Next Time You Say Forever," a smitten wind vortex in "This Tornado Loves You" -- but nature remains at the forefront of Middle Cyclone, whose 14 songs conclude with a half-hour field recording of noisy crickets and frogs. Moody and engaging throughout, Cyclone is another tour de force from Neko Case, if not as immediately arresting as Fox Confessor.

Read More

Editorial Reviews

USA Today
Delightfully fresh, in both senses of the word.
New York Times Magazine - Daniel Menaker
“Middle Cyclone” — named after the area near the middle of a tornado in which air rushes straight up — comes close to immediate accessibility, but it is never pat, never ear Splenda. It has a Brechtian-sounding love song in march rhythm, two or three waltzes, a sweet Byrds-like salvo of opening guitars and vocal effects from wild to coy.

Product Details

Release Date:
03/03/2009
Label:
Anti
UPC:
0045778697328
catalogNumber:
86973
Rank:
57444

Tracks

Read More

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Neko Case   Primary Artist,Electric Guitar,Tambourine,Vocals,Background Vocals,8-string Guitar
Steve Berlin   Organ,Saxophone,MIDI Sax
Joey Burns   Bass,Cello,Bowed Bass
Kelly Hogan   Background Vocals
Garth Hudson   Organ,Piano
Carl Newman   Background Vocals,Choir, Chorus
John Convertino   Drums
Howe Gelb   Piano,Electric Guitar
Sarah Harmer   Vocals
Kurt Heasley   Guitar,Background Vocals,Choir, Chorus
Jon Rauhouse   Acoustic Guitar,Pedal Steel Guitar,Hawaiian Guitar,Hawaiian Lap Steel Guitar
Dallas Good   Electric Guitar,Fuzz Guitar
Travis Good   Electric Guitar
Carolyn Mark   Background Vocals
Nora O'Connor   Background Vocals
M. Ward   Acoustic Guitar
Rachel Flotard   Background Vocals,Choir, Chorus
Tom V. Ray   Bass Guitar
Barry Mirochnick   Drums
Paul Rigby   Organ,Dulcimer,Acoustic Guitar,Piano,Electric Guitar,Music Box,Guitar (12 String Electric),Guitar (12 String Acoustic)
Lucy Roche   Background Vocals
Tara Szczygielski   Violin
Carloyn Mark   Background Vocals

Technical Credits

Harry Nilsson   Composer
Ron Mael   Composer
Peter Moore   Mastering
Neko Case   Composer,Executive Producer,Artwork,Audio Production,Drawing
Craig Schumacher   overdub engineer
Chris Schultz   overdub engineer
Sadies   Composer
Nick Luca   overdub engineer
Paul Rigby   Arranger
Robert Myers   Photo Courtesy
Lewis Stillwell   Photo Courtesy

Read More

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >