Neko Case - The Tigers Have Spoken (Cover Artwork)

Neko Case

Neko Case: The Tigers Have SpokenThe Tigers Have Spoken (2004)
Anti- Records

Reviewer Rating: 2.5

Contributed by: greg0rbgreg0rb
(others by this writer | submit your own)

My only previous experience with Neko Case had been with her work with The New Pornographers. They are such a fantastic pop band, and her sweet vocals add a kick to songs like "The Laws Have Changed" and "All for Swinging You Around", so of course I was excited to receive this album to review. Hav.
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My only previous experience with Neko Case had been with her work with The New Pornographers. They are such a fantastic pop band, and her sweet vocals add a kick to songs like "The Laws Have Changed" and "All for Swinging You Around", so of course I was excited to receive this album to review. Having never heard her solo work, I only assumed this would be a great sugar-tooth pop record. Boy, was I disappointed at first, for what I received was a live alt-country album, heavy on the country side. After doing a bit of investigating, I found that country is indeed her thing, she was merely a voice with The New Pornographers and not a songwriter. In fact, she is not much of a songwriter at all, for her albums (the first was 1997's The Virginian) have been mostly covers with the exception of the 2002's Blacklisted. But she does have quite a voice, and though I was surprised at first, I took the album for what it is and found myself enjoying most of it despite not being a country music fan.

Like I said, The Tigers Have Spoken is a live album, recorded primarily at small clubs in Toronto and Chicago, but this is not a greatest hits collection. It has only two rerecorded tunes, the rest being new covers and some new original material. It also showcases a different side of her work, the upbeat side. From what I can find, most of her work has been sparing, slow and drummer-less. Her backup band The Sadies bring the drums, as well as the pedal steel, banjo, guitar, and male and female backups to harmonize with Case, making this a much more cheerful and fun-loving record than the darker Blacklisted.

The standouts would be the new original opener "If You Knew", with it's sad and soulful twang and awesome echoed female vocals; the drum pounding, tambourine-filled Shangri-Las' tune "Train from Kansas City"; and the title track, another original, with a country hook and harmonies so good even I can't resist. Another cover, "Loretta" is the most upbeat of the album, full of speedily-strummed guitars, zooming by in under 2 minutes. Then there is Loretta Lynn's "Rated X", which is undeniably country, full of slide guitar and vocal twang, but is great nonetheless.

There are some tracks that bored me such as the drudging new original "Hex" and the spooky yet pass-able rerecorded tune "Blacklisted". The hard to find "Favorite" is just alright; it definitely showcases Case's chops with plenty of drawl and soul, yet that's what does it in for me- it's just a little too country and grates on me.

The only song not recorded in a club is the traditional tune "Wayfaring Stranger", but it is no studio track either. It was recorded at a conference where Neko lead a session and taught 300-some people the chorus to the tune and recorded it on the spot, with banjo accompaniment and her on lead. It is quite glorious to hear that many people singing along and it is definitely an original idea of hers, showing the conference the ease at which the laymen can make music. However, I feel that the foot-stomping lord-praising traditional tune "This Little Light" would have ended the album on a more energetic note.

While I did warm up to this, I can only take so much country, so thank god this is only 35 minutes. It's a well done live album, not really up my alley but maybe yours. At this website, I kind of doubt it, though.


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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
GlassPipeMurder (August 27, 2006)

my mom likes this shit and therefor i am bound by the code of the punk rock rulebook to hate it

Anonymous (November 14, 2004)

To be more precise:


Anonymous (November 14, 2004)


Anonymous (November 14, 2004)

My two favorite country bands are Mekons and Slim Cessna's Auto Club. I suggest you check those two out.

Also, I suggest you check this out.

I want her so badly.

sharksandwich (November 14, 2004)

you really shouldn't review cds that you know going into you won't like. this cd happens to be excellent, and albeit neko case might be considered 'alt. country' its a far cry from the radio-friendly conventional 'country' crap that is nothing but garbage. country is a beautiful genre. you just have to know where to look, and neko is a great start.

Anonymous (November 13, 2004)

all right! scott peterson's on the board -

guilty as charged!

Anonymous (November 13, 2004)


xmidipunkbastardx (November 13, 2004)

i like alt. country.
but i just can't get into neko cases records. sorry.

Anonymous (November 13, 2004)

My penis has spoken.

Anonymous (November 12, 2004)

This cd is great. I've been listening to it all week long!

-Scott Peterson

Anonymous (November 12, 2004)

Did she do a Playboy spread?

Anonymous (November 12, 2004)

How the fuck did this get reviewed on this site?

adam (November 12, 2004)

5? Man Greg... you and I are going to have a talking to for besmudging the name of my dear Ms. Case.


Anonymous (November 12, 2004)

I hate live albums, but Neko is still great... for post-punk alt. country.

Anonymous (November 12, 2004)

Get named already.

Anonymous (November 12, 2004)

That whole Playboy thing with Neko was stupid.

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