CD Review: Peter Case

Wig! (Yep Roc)

Following recent heart surgery, singer-songwriter Peter Case sidesteps his usual introspective folk music for some bluesy rockin' out on Wig! And while it doesn't sound much like the Plimsouls (the early-'80s power-pop combo Case founded), the album significantly diverges from 2007's acoustic Let Us Now Praise Sleepy John. Case pushes the needles into the red zone often here, fashioning an album with a low-fi garage and basement ambiance. Drums snap, guitars crackle, and Case's singing (with a touch of rockabilly echo) comes straight from the gut. Most of the songs are rooted in the blues — not the 12-bar, my-baby-done-left-me stuff, but the flexible, loose-limbed, and insistent rhythm-driven styles of John Lee Hooker and Lightnin' Hopkins. The one exception is "The Words in Red," which features a chiming Byrds-like guitar riff and Case's passionately scathing voice careening like Highway 61 Revisited-era Dylan. He sounds like he has a new lease on life.

Mark Keresman

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