case/lang/veirs — An Unlikely Supergroup That Really Clicks

caselangviersMore often than not, Rock supergroups end up being huge disappointments. For every Crosby, Stills and Nash or Travelling Wilburys there are dozens of failures like Asia or The Firm. The problem usually stems from the inability to meet unreasonably high expectations, coupled with the ego clashes that inevitably ensue when Alpha dogs try to work together.

Well a new one has popped onto the scene and I’m pretty excited about it. And since its members all represent the planet’s more conciliatory gender, it holds the promise of a more lasting contribution to the music scene.

case/lang/veirs combines the considerable talents of Neko Case, k.d. lang and Laura Veirs. Laura Veirs is a great singer/songwriter who brings grit and verité to her naturalistic sensibilities. k.d. lang is perhaps best known as a crooner with a big voice, but she comes from a rockabilly background and is much more versatile than people give her credit for. And the brilliant Neko Case, what can I say – one of the most vital artists in Rock today, both for her work in the New Pornographers and as a solo artist.

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Apparently k.d. called the others up a couple of years ago, having been only acquaintances, and suggested the collaboration. They all agreed, and at first envisioned a “punky girl group”, but that didn’t mesh with the types of songs they were writing. One thing they agreed upon was that it wasn’t going to be a three-star trio with constant 3-part harmonies. They each wanted to contribute to each other’s lead on every song.

Which isn’t an easy proposition when you’re dealing with three artists who are used to taking charge and having things their own way. But like women in charge everywhere, they managed to work things out. lang told Lenny Magazine that “there was a ton of compromise. We definitely had different ideas of songwriting and lyrical approaches and so forth. Egos were slain and conceptions were slain and there were really tense times, but I would say the music kept us together, kept us focused, and kept us feeling like we had a good, positive momentum.”

Of course, the proof is in the pudding, and the two tracks they’ve released so far are superb. Nicely-written songs, voices blending beautifully together, and really thoughtful, original-sounding production. The album is due out on June 17, and the trio is embarking on a tour around the same time. Let’s hope they last. It would be fascinating to see what they could accomplish together over time.





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