Q (UK) - - Q Review New Albums - LAURA BAR­TON

Singer-song­writer dis­plays best of her tal­ents on ar­rest­ing eighth.

With a ca­reer that’s pro­duced seven solo LPs and col­lab­o­ra­tions with The New Pornog­ra­phers and k.d. lang, Neko Case is one of the most ar­rest­ing singer-song­writ­ers of the last 20 years. Hell-On is an ex­em­plary il­lus­tra­tion of her tal­ents: its lyrics hold­ing a fairy­tale poise and her voice uniquely plain­tive. There are fa­mil­iar themes – wild­ness, death, the sea – but these songs seem dis­tinct, a re­sult of both a new pro­ducer (Björn Yt­tling) and new sto­ries: the fire that burned down her home (Bad Luck), un­will­ing fe­male muses (Halls Of Sarah) and a Mark Lane­gan duet about mu­sic, men and the pas­sage of time (Curse Of The I- 5 Cor­ri­dor). It shows that what­ever life brings her, Case can turn it into some­thing star­tling. Lis­ten To: Curse Of The I- 5 Cor­ri­dor | Halls Of Sarah

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