Neko Case, k.d. lang, and Laura Veirs: case/lang/veirs (ANTI-) Review | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Thursday, April 9th, 2020  

Neko Case, k.d. lang, and Laura Veirs



Jun 13, 2016 Issue # 57 - M83 Bookmark and Share

Had Neko Case, k.d. lang, and Laura Veirs recorded only the track "Atomic Number," it's hard to imagine them even considering not going further. With a stark acoustic guitar and electronic beat, they trade vocals to begin: "I'm not the freckled maid/I'm not the fair-haired girl/I'm not a pan of milk for you to spoil." Their voices combine for rich harmony on the chorus, and as with the rest of the record, it's a joy to hear them come together.

After lang's invitation several years ago for Case and Veirs to record with her, the 14 original songs on case/lang/veirs came together in Portland, Oregon, where lang and Veirs reside. It seems that lang's instinct was dead-on, as the performances by all three artists rank with any of their best work.

Over a light piano/guitar accompaniment and brushed drums, lang has a lovely lead turn with "Blue Fires." "You tell me you're here, but your words are like fumes," lang sings. "They just disappear/Now all the heat's rushing out of the room," with the trio's voices suddenly soaring in a gorgeous, sky-borne sweep.    

Tasteful, effective backing is provided throughout, with occasional woodwinds and strings joining acoustic guitar and percussion. On "Song for Judee," Veirs takes the spotlight for a compelling look at the life of troubled '70s singer Judee Sill. Case boils down her thoughts on "Behind the Armory" to a sweet, simple desire: "Still, I want you to love me."

"Best Kept Secret" is a burst of California sunshine. Over a driving swirl of guitar, strings, and brass, Veirs celebrates an L.A. friend while her partners chime in with '60s pop-style backing vocals. And as they all join together on "I Want to Be Here," it's not hard to place the words in a context that's meaningful to the trio: "I just want, I want to be here with you/Not bracing for what comes next." It offers a poignant thought for what hopefully won't prove to be a one-off event. (

Author rating: 8/10

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