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Friday, August 12, 2016


Readers of this blog know I am a big fan of Neko Case, so it took me by surprise to see she had made an album, e.e. cummings-ly titled case/lang/veirs, with K.D. Lang and Laura Veirs. Lang is, of course, a folk/country star of the first rank (great trivia question--who was on the first cover of Entertainment Weekly--K.D. Lang!), while I must admit unfamiliarity with Laura Veirs.

I've been listening to the album for about a week now and while it isn't as strong as Case's solo work, it has it's charms. Unfortunately, there is no lyric sheet, so I can't quote any lyrics, and I'm beyond the days of playing a record over and over again to figure them out (I particularly remember doing with that cassette tapes, rewinding for two seconds and playing it over and over again. Michael Stipe--I curse you for this!)

The songs are also co-written by all three, I think (the type on the DVD jacket is so small and in red against a blue background, so I would need a magnifying glass to read it). Case and Lang's vocals are very identifiable, so the voice I don't recognize must be Veirs.

The opening track, "Atomic Number,"  has contributing vocals from all three, and in the video the number is 42, which either reveals a fondness for Douglas Adams or for molybdenum. Case's songs, if I'm discerning enough, are typical of her--somewhat pessimistic, but with a weakness for optimism, such as "Delirium," a lovely love song, or "Behind the Armory," in which she sings, plaintively, "I still want you to love me." She also appears to have written "I-5," which has a hint of menace.

Lang takes lead vocals on torchy ballads, such as "Why Do We Fight?" "Blue Fires," and "Honey and Smoke," and Veirs' songs are more folky with an Appalachian flavor, such as "Song for Judee" and "Georgia Stars."

I think my favorite song, other than "Delirium," is "Best Kept Secret," which I think features Case on vocals. The full line is "You're the best kept secret of Silver Lake." Silver Lake is a kind of hipster area of Los Angeles, and I think there's a story here.

In any event, there isn't a clunker on this record, and while it doesn't match Case's solo efforts, it is a must for her fans.

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