St. Vincent’s Latest Is Quirky and Fun — Her Best Yet

27 Mar

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St. Vincent’s music is an acquired taste. Pitchfork describes her latest, self-titled CD as “bold and almost jarringly confident. (It) does not sound like it was recorded here on Earth.”

That pretty much sums it up.

My first exposure to Annie Clark, who performs as St. Vincent, was 2007’s Marry Me. The word that comes to mind is “quirky.” Quirky and creative. And exceptionally gifted — as both a composer and performer. With equal parts Green Day and Flaming Lips.

The prolific St. Vincent followed Marry Me with Actor in 2009. In 2011, Strange Mercy was released,and I found even more to like there — playing tracks such as “Cruel.”

But her current CD, St. Vincent, is truly a triumph. While some of the tracks get a little…well, quirky, born of St. Vincent’s unique ear and energy — the set is without a doubt her most accomplished and creatively mature yet.

Over the past year or two, Clark collaborated with musical royalty in the person of David Byrne, formerly with the Talking Heads. Byrne has a reputation for being endlessly innovative. Clark did an album and toured multiple times with Byrne to support it. One of those trips led them to the Saratoga Mountain Winery, overlooking the Santa Clara Valley — where they proceeded to put on a fabulous show performing most songs from Love This Giant.

Now, Clark is in the spotlight with her fourth solo CD. And the attention is well deserved.

The CD starts with “Rattlesnake,” a buzzy, edgy number that mixes electronic music with Clark’s sharp guitar licks and distinctive vocals — filtered and distorted.

“Birth in Reverse” is one of the best tracks on the album. It’s garage-y with a driving, thumping beat. We get to hear Clark’s great guitar riffs within a very danceable tune.

“Digital Witness,” track 5, is another standout. It’s a funky, brass-driven composition that’s reminiscent of Clark’s work with Byrne. The march-like beat and catchy choruses make it a song that can be heard again and again. It’s also a song where you really can appreciate the lyrics.

The final song in the set is “Severed Crossed Fingers.” I have no idea where that title came from, but it gives Clark a chance to spin a touching story of self-discovery and determination.

If you want an album from a brilliant artist who’s still in the process of making a name for herself, this new release from St. Vincent is well worth adding to your collection. And don’t miss seeing a live show when you get an opportunity.

 

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