Middle Cyclone - Neko Case
Middle Cyclone Image
Metascore
79

Generally favorable reviews - based on 31 Critics What's this?

User Score
8.9

Universal acclaim- based on 46 Ratings

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  • Summary: The singer's latest album produced with Darryl Neudorf features guests such as M. Ward and members of The New Pornographers, Los Lobos, Calexico, The Sadies, and Giant Sand.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 26 out of 31
  2. Negative: 0 out of 31
  1. Middle Cyclone is the sound of one of the most interesting, independent, and consistently brilliant artists recording today at the top of their game.
  2. Neko Case hasn't produced a disappointing solo venture yet, and between "Fox Confessor Brings The Flood" and Middle Cyclone, her recent production is the strongest of her increasingly beautiful catalog.
  3. Less of a departure and more of a confirmation and deepening of everything she’s been exploring over the last 10 years, Case has never sounded quite so compelling as a storyteller, unleashing the full range of her humor, defiance, and despair.
  4. Instead of fixed verses or choruses there are two-chord patterns that run as long as Ms. Case wants, or as short; they might add or subtract a beat, suddenly switch chords or support an entirely new tune in mid-song. Subliminally that rhapsodic approach keeps the songs off balance and suspenseful, ready for every possibility of disaster or exaltation.
  5. Quirky melodies and unpredictable, anti-country structures make it interesting over repeat listens. A mid-career triumph.
  6. Case remains her own best muse, a strong, feminine presence who demands you meet her songs halfway (she calls herself a control freak in every article I've read), but her band deserves credit for creating the ambient, dark-night setting in which her tales of murder and animals sound natural and compelling.
  7. There's the brisk cover of Sparks's 'Never Turn Your Back On Mother Earth,' plus a huanting, piano-inspired run through Harry Nilsson's drunkathon 'Don't Forget Me,' but she blows it at the death with the hideous 'Marais La Nuit,' 31 torturous minutes 38 grisly seconds of forest noises. [Apr 2009, p.102]

See all 31 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 14
  2. Negative: 0 out of 14
  1. StephenB
    May 16, 2009
    10
    MC is a great album. Consistently enchanting and springing new from track to track. Subtle but brassy. Literate but no nonsense. Lyrically she keeps getting better. She reins in her voice, but I think to really great emotional effect. Then she also pulls some great pop choruses out of her bum. What's not to like? At Tim H and all those grumpy reviewers...If having a looping track of spring peepers after 42 minutes of music is lazy, then what do you call leaving the empty space on a CD filled with absolutely nada. That's what everyone else does. The track is in keeping with the spitirt of the album. It also has its purposes. In the deep latter stages of winter I played that track as background noise and my wife instantly got happier without knowing why! Expand
  2. SteveA
    Mar 17, 2009
    10
    I didn't think Neko could surpass the masterpiece that is Fox Confessor. But she did. Middle Cyclone is a fantastic listen. Even the crickets are captivating. Once Ms. Case learns how to properly use Photoshop, she'll become a one-woman powerhouse in the music industry. Expand
  3. DionB
    Mar 21, 2009
    10
    Best ever! buy it now! lick em twice!
  4. SimonS
    Mar 5, 2009
    9
    Great album, which took about three listens to appreciate.
  5. TomB
    Apr 12, 2010
    9
    Great album. But the 31 mins of crickets chirping is hardly lazy. She just added that to fill up the disc. Noone creates a 74 minute album ... and the album is 16 songs ... and most just give you a disc with fully blank space at the end. The larger question is why people couldn't figure this out on their own? Expand
  6. JF
    Mar 3, 2009
    8
    Not her best, but not bad at all. The opening 5 tracks are amazing, especially "This Tornado Loves You", "The Next Time You Say Forever", and "People Got a Lotta Nerve". The title track is a definite highlight, too. The closing 30 minutes of crickets and cicadas is a bit tedious and far too glacial for its own good. It is more than half the length of all the previous songs combined. It's calming and good background fuzz, but if you take it off, you realize that "Red Tide" is not a very satisfying end, and neither is "Marais la Nuit". So, it ends sourly, but the majority of Middle Cyclone is great. Expand
  7. RickK
    Jun 1, 2009
    5
    As with the other listener who likened his experience with the cd as 'two ships passing in the night', I too was disappointed that I did not immediately tune to the emotions of the lyrics. This one does not rise high for me, but her voice! What a voice. Collapse

See all 14 User Reviews

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