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

Neko Case The Worse Things Get, the Harder I Fight, the Harder I Fight, the More I Love You
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At this point, Neko Case has atmospheric alt-country down to a science, and her last few releases have been characterized by nocturnal Americana ballads, belted-out vocals and offbeat imagery. The Worse Things Get, however, finds her stretching out beyond her comfort zone. "Man" is a brawny blitz of jagged guitars, while "Nearly Midnight, Honolulu" is an a cappella lament and "Where Did I Leave That Fire" begins with an ambient soundscape that resembles a submarine's sonar. These experiments help keep the record sounding fresh, but the best moments come when Case stays within her wheelhouse and swings away. The majestic "Night Still Comes" is a soul-kissed waltz mixing flowery lyrics about pharaohs and masons with the blunt query, "If I puked up some sonnets/Would you call me a miracle?" This gorgeous tune demonstrates that, more than a decade-and-a-half since her solo debut, Case is still at the top of her game when it comes to country-noir. (Anti)