NEKO CASE Blacklisted (Mint/Bloodshot) Rating: NNNNN Rating: NNNNN
Everything previously recorded by Neko Case has been a warm-up for her brilliant Blacklisted disc (out Tuesday). Composing the majority of songs, arranging them, setting the emotional tenor of the music with her guitar playing and masterfully singing them with power and subtle sophistication, Case has made her definitive artistic statement with this darkly seductive album. The Giant Sand extended family provides tastefully textured accompaniment (Mary Margaret O'Hara adds backing vocals), but it's all Case's show, and her inspired readings of the Ketty Lester stalker ballad I'll Be Around and the Aretha Franklin brush-off Running Out Of Fools reveal impressive depth and maturity. Another bold step forward. Neko Case joins Trailer Bride and Rae Billing at the Phoenix September 26.