Neko Case – Hell On

  • July 19, 2018

Neko Case’s 7th album “Hell-On” is a collaborative production in many respects – although Hell-On was entirely self-produced, the album features appearances by A.C. Newman of The New Pornographers, Mark Lanegan, Laura Veirs, K.D. Lang, and Beth Ditto. Like Case’s 2013 release “The Worse Things Get The Harder I Fight The Harder I Fight The More I Love You”, “ Hell-On departs from the country alt twang of Case’s earlier work and expands into textured aural indie pop with a dark, primal edge. During the album’s production, Case lost her Vermont home to a fire, fought for her privacy under subsequent media attention, and dealt with a stalker as a result of the breach of her privacy. Amid personal calamity and tired resignation, Case’s wry lyrical gut punches become a conduit, a collaboration of sorts between her internal emotional world and the fury and fragility of Mother Nature herself. The theme of extinction, in love, in civilization, and in nature, resonates through the songs in spite of their empathetic and sometimes upbeat tones. In the powerfully arresting title-track, “Hell-On” Case casually waltzes a warning “I am wilderness yes / the undiscovered continent for you to undress/ but you’ll not be my master/ you’ll barely be my guest……Be careful of the natural world” In “Last Lion of Albion”, Case’s voice weaves through chilly, circular, Cure-like riffs – The last lion of Albion/The last of The Mohicans gone/ The last cedars of Lebanon/You’ll feel extinction. Every track on Hell-On, for its own reasons, is a standout track. This is an album that challenges and evolves with each listen. Hell- On’s highly tactile, cryptic lyrics and eclectic arrangements lean into the grey area between poetry and music populated by rare icons such as Leonard Cohen and Tom Waits and Nick Cave. Hell-On is a superlative work by a one of a kind artist. – Written by SLynch



SIMILAR | Case/Lang/Veirs, Jenny Lewis, Lydia Loveless, Waxahatchee