Review: Neko Case – The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You
Published on September 10th, 2013 | Jonny Abrams
The title of Neko Case’s sixth studio album might as well double up as the second clause of this introductory paragraph: The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You. There you go, sort that lot out.
At least it’s not as unwieldy as the title of last year’s Fiona Apple LP: The Idler Wheel is Wiser Than the Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do, in case you were wondering.
Apple’s album was able to count ‘being utterly tremendous’ among its mitigating factors, and so is The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You.
All the melodic and lyrical savvy we’ve come to associate with Case through her solo work and with The New Pornographers…well, it’s present and correct, and even threatens to spawn a real classic before the second half of the album gets a tad mired in (otherwise presentable) brooding gospel.
Opener “Wild Creatures” takes unexpected twists and turns amidst its gorgeous swirls of flute, “Night Still Comes” sways and moongazes to near Beach Boys levels of beauty, while the crashing pop sophistication of “Man” packs one of this year’s very finest lines in “If I’m dipshit drunk on pink perfume / Then I am the man in the fucking moon”.
Special mentions also for “He died because I murdered him” from “Bracing for Sunday” and the a cappella “Get the fuck away from me! / Why don’t you ever shut up?” from “Nearly Midnight, Honolulu”.
While the second half of the album may lack the golden pop of the first, it’s no bad thing, not least since it climaxes with the superb “Ragtime”, which chugs slowly in a strung-out kind of way, bursts wide open with a triumphant brass section and winds up as something the great Beulah might also have ended an LP with.
Neko Case is still wonderful; that’s just about all you need to know for now.
The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You is out now.
Rocksucker says: Four Quails out of Five!