Neko Case, ‘The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You’ (Anti)
Neko Case’s excellent new album is not particularly easy to digest. It starts with the title, “The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You.”
There are plenty of things going from bad to worse for Case’s characters, including a woman who murders her lover’s brother after she dies giving birth to his baby in “Bracing For Sunday.” Get all that? She weaves this sordid tale in a propulsive song that sounds a lot like her work with The New Pornographers.
There is also plenty of fight and plenty of love. Case slows things down on “Local Girl” to ponder how time and miles “change the way I love you.” Like most of “The Worse Things Get …” it’s a heartbreaking story ensconced in expertly layered indie rock. Guitarist M. Ward and Pornographers drummer Kurt Dahle lend a hand on numerous tunes.
It’s the first solo album for Case since 2009’s excellent “Middle Cyclone” and while she might not be in quite as playful a mood, four years later Case is still on top of her game.
Owen R. Smith
Other new releases
Nine Inch Nails, “Hesitation Marks” (Columbia)
The Julie Ruin, “Run Fast” (self-released)
Okkervil River, “The Silver Gymnasium” (ATO)