Without Neko Case's voice, Blacklisted would be better-than-average alt-country. With Case's voice, it is moody and haunting and exciting and dark and sexy and scary and powerful and invigorating and... well, just take a listen and add your own adjectives.
The musicians play together like old friends sitting around the living room in the wee hours of the morning, and Case's voice wraps everything together like a fireplace and a bottle of cider. Every time I listen, I find a new second-favorite song. ("Pretty Girls" is always my favorite, for it is the moment when everything and everyone on the record gel together perfectly.)
There's a beauty and desperation in the cover that accurately reflects the music. Case lies seductively on the pavement behind an old van filled with someone's possessions, highlighted in a bright flash that darkens the warm oranges of a cloudy sunset. The text that forms Case's name wraps off of the booklet, which is a really nice touch that you don't really notice until you're holding the booklet. The inside of the jacket is typical indie rock fare. There are no lyrics, which is a shame because I'd much rather read Case's words than look at trite mirror-images of old guitars.
Listen if you like: Jesse Sykes and the Sweet Hereafter, k.d. lang, Shelby Lynne, Wilco, The Sadies
If it were food, it'd be: That bottle of cider I mentioned a few paragraphs back.