'I'm a maneater' Neko Case sings on "People Got A Lotta Nerve," and fittingly so. Her previous solo album The Tigers Have Spoken was beautiful but sparse, and Challengers, her last album with CSD favorite The New Pornographers, sounded favored quiet, pretty songs over the sort of the sort of toe-tappers that made the band famous, and even Case's contributions to the bands upbeat 2005 record Twin Cinema tended to be of the campfire-singalong variety (think of "Streets of Fire".) Six years after "Electric Version," Case's fans needed a reminder that their favorite red head could still kick ass. And kick ass, she does.
Songs like "This Tornado Loves You," "People Got A Lotta Nerve," and "I'm An Animal" showcase Neko's brilliant, room-filling voice, backed by muscular arrangments of guitars, organs and drums. The rock is back. If the album has a weakness, it is the 31 minute album-closer "Marais La Nuit." One can see why Neko wanted to end her nature-inspired album with chirping crickets and singing birds, but, at 31 minutes, the track is half an hour longer than it probably needs to be. Even so, Middle Cyclone has all of the elements of a classic record - fourteen thematically linked tracks, a handful of great songs, no weak ones, and ambition to spare. We likey.
"People Gota A Lotta Nerve"