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  Furnace Room Lullaby  
  Neko Case and Her Boyfriends  
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Long before this album was released, I'd heard the best track off Furnace Room Lullaby. Set Out Running demonstrates the best qualities of Neko Case - a simple story about misbegotten love sung by a woman whose voice threatens to overwhelm the audience. It's the type of song one might associate with a more countrified Billie Holliday (or a more whiskified Patsy Cline). It's the type of song you want to howl along with, especially on those days when your own love life is falling apart and you feel a little ache inside.

The rest of Furnace Room Lullaby follows much this same pattern - more traditionalist vocal heavy country that deals with more modern themes (like the death of a hometown, or killing a boyfriend and tossing him in the furnace). Case's strong vocals threaten at times to overwhelm the rest of the music, but the production reigns it in, so that there's a balance to the album.

I find it's difficult to write about really really good albums. What can you say that expresses why this is such much better than your average run of the mill Insurgent Country album? I think it fundamentally comes down to two things. First off, the songwriting avoids the clichéd phrases and topics which make me want to roll my eyes. Second, the songs don't all sound the same. There are variations in tone, key, and rhythm which make this album more interesting to listen to. You aren't sitting there thinking, "didn't I hear this 3 songs back?" In the recorded medium, variations that don't suck count for a lot.

So, in the end, who should be listening to this album? Well, this is marketed as a album, and I think that shoe fits. However, I also think it has a strong bluesy undertone, and most people who like the singer-songwriter type genres should probably give this a listen. In other words, Furnace Room Lullaby is strong enough to cross genres, and can appeal to broad cross section of music fans.

Related Links:

Neko Case live on tour for this album.


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