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Middle Cyclone

Rate It! Avg: 4.5 (198 ratings)

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Middle Cyclone album cover
This Tornado Loves you
The Next Time You Say "Forever"
People Got A Lotta Nerve
Polar Nettles
Vengeance Is Sleeping
Never Turn Your Back On Mother Earth
Middle Cyclone
Magpie To The Morning
I'm An Animal
Prison Girls
Don't Forget Me
The Pharaohs
Red Tide
Marais La Nuit
Album Information

Total Tracks: 15   Total Length: 73:52

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The delight's in the detail


Not as immediate as its predecessor, this has Neko's high-voltage voice and the rich accompaniments of a starry lineup of backing musicians to recommend it. A little effort is required to appreciate the woozy atmosphere of Prison Girls and the delicate middle eight of Pharaohs (is that a mandolin?). As usual lyrics are opaque but atmospheric and indeed "quite sinister" as in magnificent closer Red Tide (I admit I didn't download the following half hour of insect noises). This finds the singer reminiscing about drive-in B-movies and is the one track I can't help coming back to.

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Some you win, some you loose. I've listened to this 4 times now since I downloaded and somehow it hasn't clicked at all for me. It's just all ok without any wow factor kicking in. Shame

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There certainly is something odd about that last track. I've transferred it to the ambient section along with Windy and Carl's dog. But as to all this available-not available stuff, it works the other way too, there are things that you can get in the States which we can't get in England. I imagine the record company hopes people will go out and buy the physical CD at full price. This is something I avoid on principle. The real joke is the strangely naive idea that your local music shop is going to stock the sort of albums we get on e-music anyway!

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finally available in UK...only!


Strange rules seem to apply to Ms Case. Her entire back catalogue, bar live in Austin, Texas, was unavailable in the UK, now it seems everything is back up for grabs...but her American fans have been short-changed. What on earth is going on? Anyhoo, good new album, great to hear her voice again.

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What Up, eMusic?


Neko's produced one of the best reviewed albums of the year so far, and she can't even download it in her own country? HUH?

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Beware the last track


Excellent album.... until you get to the last track which appears to be half an hour of insect and frog noises presumably recorded in some marshland at night! Certainly not Neko's most singalong ditty!

eMusic Features


36 Songs To Soothe the Pain

By Wondering Sound Staff, Contributor

Whether you're happily married or told Cupid to shove it a long time ago, we can all agree on one thing: to quote the one-and-only Nazareth, "Love hurts/ Love scars/ Love wounds/ And mars." Or something. That's why we went ahead and compiled a list of 36 Songs To Soothe the Pain, from the bloodletting confessionals of Neko Case, Bright Eyes and Sunny Day Real Estate to the melancholic melodies of Sigur Rós, the Shangri-Las… more »

They Say All Music Guide

Neko Case looks formidable on the cover of Middle Cyclone, brandishing a sword in one hand while crouching low on the hood of a muscle car. It’s mostly camp, of course — the sort of superwoman image that Quentin Tarantino might have used for Death Proof’s ad campaign — but it also draws contrast with Case’s past albums, two of which featured moody shots of the songwriter sprawled on the floor, ostensibly knocked out. Middle Cyclone isn’t the polar opposite of Blacklisted’s downcast Americana; there are still moments of heartbreak on this release, and Case channels the sad cowgirl blues with all the nuance of Patsy Cline. Multiple years in the New Pornographers’ lineup have brightened her outlook, though, and Middle Cyclone balances its melancholia with some of the most pop-influenced choruses of Case’s career. “I’m a man-man-maneater,” she sings on “People Got a Lotta Nerve,” a snappy gem of vocal harmonies and jangled guitars. The mammal metaphors continue with “I’m an Animal,” where a coed choir hums a wordless, hooky refrain. These songs are still filled with earth tones — they may even pitch their tent closer to the folk camp than Carl Newman’s power pop — but their venture into brighter territory is a confident one.
Of course, Neko Case already explored the animal world with 2006′s Fox Confessor Brings the Flood, and Middle Cyclone devotes more time to weather, nature, and the stormy atmospherics provided by her backup band. There are few voices as haunting as Case’s alto, and she flaunts her vocal chops over a number of semi-ballads, from the cinematic “Prison Girls” (a country-noir love letter to someone with “long shadows and gunpowder eyes”) to the sparse title track. She does a surprise duet with chirping birds during “Polar Nettles” — a result of the pastoral recording sessions, which took place in a barn — before tackling a cover of Sparks’ “Never Turn Your Back on Mother Earth,” whose title very well may be the album’s mission statement. There’s still room to tackle love from the perspective of different characters — a man in “Vengeance Is Sleeping,” a disbeliever in “The Next Time You Say Forever,” a smitten wind vortex in “This Tornado Loves You” — but nature remains at the forefront of Middle Cyclone, whose 14 songs conclude with a half-hour field recording of noisy crickets and frogs. Moody and engaging throughout, Cyclone is another tour de force from Neko Case, if not as immediately arresting as Fox Confessor. – Andrew Leahey

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