Release Date: Feb 25, 2014
Record label: Loma Vista Recordings
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock
St. Vincent’s third album ‘Strange Mercy’ felt like a breakthrough. Shrink-wrapped teeth gnashed through white latex on the cover, and Annie Clark broke through into a new realm of dark, surgical, self-laceration. On her previous record she struck on a potent alchemy of odd detachment, calmly enticing the listener to take out a scalpel and begin dissection.
The last time we heard from St Vincent, aka Annie Clark, was in conjunction with former Talking Heads lynchpin, art-pop icon and all-round musical legend David Byrne on their album Love This Giant. It was a terrific album, albeit one that seemed to be more of a David Byrne record than a St Vincent one. Yet it’s only with the arrival of Clark’s self-titled fourth album that we can see how important Love This Ghost was on the evolution of St Vincent as an artist.
Five tracks into Annie Clark's fifth album as St Vincent comes a song called Digital Witness. "If I can't show it, you can't see me," she sings, over a distorted 80s R&B backing, lent a hint of unease by the oddly dense, claustrophobic horn arrangement. "What's the point of doing anything?" It's a satire on the Facebook generation's need to document and display their lives, a digital update of Ray Davies's old suggestion that people take pictures of each other just to prove that they really existed.
That Annie Clark’s new album as St. Vincent is self-titled is no aberration, no cop-out in the face of vacant inspiration. Just look at the eponymous collection’s Willo Perron-designed, Memphis Movement-inspired cover. Clark, perched high atop her modernist throne, exudes the sort of confidence and wit reserved only for those who’ve mastered a craft.
Annie Clark displays a remarkable facility for change, creating constantly morphing songs contained within a shifting panoply of modes, voices, and styles, cutting delicate, glittering pop with forceful fuzz and raunchy, preening guitar work. A multi-instrumentalist with a history of institutional training and anonymous backing-band work, she retains the guitar as her signature instrument and most potent tool, lacerating otherwise divine music with down-and-dirty grit, eyes heavenward and feet muddy. The gradual expansion of sounds and textures occurring across her four solo albums as St.
“Oh what an ordinary day / Take out the garbage; masturbate.” It may be the year 2014 and we may live in relatively enlightened times, but that line – especially coming from a woman – still goes off like a bomb. It’s not just the use of the word, “masturbate”, though it is still seemingly a taboo subject for women, but the matter-of-fact way that it’s delivered. The line, the first from Birth In Reverse, is, of course, entirely deliberate.
Annie Clark has met death. And they have danced. That is the premise of St. Vincent, a record as bone-chilling as it is physically liberating, as fun as it is downright freaky. In an interview months before its release, Clark explained how this was going to work: “I wanted to make a party record ….
Review Summary: A challenging art pop album that convincingly balances the beautiful with the ugly, and ultimately stays human despite its futuristic leanings.The allure of Texan indie darling Annie Clark, aka St. Vincent, has always lain in her tremendous versatility. Whether it was the tenderness of her debut Merry Me, the cerebral force of Actor or the sheer humanity of Strange Mercy, she's never been afraid to take risks, perpetually shape-shifting from a fearless luminary to an inconspicuous singer-songwriter.
"Oh what an ordinary day/ take out the garbage, masturbate," goes the opening line to "Birth In Reverse," the first single off of St. Vincent's (a.k.a. Annie Clark) self-titled fourth album. The seemingly incidental line illuminates why Clark might be one of the most fascinating songwriters of the last five years; she has a knack for identifying and analyzing society's unspoken banalities, turning them into universalities with which any honest listener could identify.St.
It's very hard to not get excited by the news that St. Vincent, aka Annie Clark, is doing something new. Whether that's working with a bonafide art pop legend in the form of David Byrne or simply doing something on her own, you just know it's going to be unlike anything you've ever heard before. She has a way of taking of something that seems so familiar and adding so many incredibly unique layers that it transforms into a totally different beast.
Annie Clark is truly, utterly exposed in her work, and that’s never been more apparent than on her new, self-titled opus. Just because she puts herself out there doesn’t mean you’ll always hear the same Annie, though. St. Vincent takes the airy poise of her past, plugs it into the wall and chucks the whole thing into a bathtub.
St. Vincent has long been a big deal to a small population. Her last solo album, 2011’s Strange Mercy, was heralded album of the year by numerous publications, including this one, and yet at Coachella 2012, she was still stuck inside the Gobi tent playing at the same time as Jeff Mangum and The Shins, leaving one to scratch one’s head and wonder what a lady has to do to be a big deal to more people.
Annie Clark's bold and almost jarringly confident fourth record, St. Vincent, does not sound like it was recorded here on Earth. Its songs sprout with their own strange, squiggly lifeforms and are governed by unfamiliar laws of gravity. Check out the first one, "Rattlesnake", a song that's bare, Kraftwerky, and full of imagery that is somehow both Edenic and post-apocalyptic.
Last fall, Annie Clark emerged from 18 long months on the road—which included the Strange Mercy tour and her Love This Giant gigs with David Byrne—ready to work. Rather than take the standard time off to recover and recalibrate, Clark dove right into songwriting again, expelling the last year and a half's worth of ideas into these 11 new tracks. The simply-titled St.
Annie Clark (a.k.a. St. Vincent) isn't just a great songwriter. She's a great song dissector, breaking down pop's essential rhythmic, melodic and emotional components, retooling every impulse. No wonder her fourth album has a lushly distracted jam where she and a boy smash up and snort a hunk of ….
“A smile is more than baring teeth”, sings St Vincent on ‘Every Tear Disappears’. But you can spin that sentiment backwards, too: the baring of teeth doesn’t necessarily imply a smile, and in St Vincent’s case, it could mean something altogether more menacing. Beneath Annie Clark’s unassuming exterior, we’ve got used to hearing notes of perversity: on 2011’s ‘Strange Mercy’ she begged for a surgeon to cut her up (‘Surgeon’), was buried by her own children (in the video to ‘Cruel’) and turned a sweet French affair into an afternoon of S&M (‘Chloe In The Afternoon’).
Annie Clark began recording St. Vincent almost immediately after she finished touring in support of Love This Giant, her inspired collaboration with David Byrne. It's not hard to hear the influence that album had on these songs: Love This Giant's literal and figurative brassiness gave Clark's witty yet thoughtful approach more sass without sacrificing any of her intelligence.
Sat on a throne and staring outwards with majestic intent, St. Vincent embodies everything we expect from an avant-garde star on the cover of her fourth solo album. She is different to the rest of us and has a striking mass of bleached frizz to prove it. We are plebs and will never understand how she summons hip-shuddering delight from her multi-instrumental rumblings.
It feels kinda bizarre that a record dotted with so many exclamation points should be so between-feeling, but here we are. Over the last few years, Annie Clark has gradually become a Big Figure, something that might have as much to do with her complex, nervy, strange music as it does with watching her tear it up on the guitar. She’s an outlier on mainstreet/stream in nearly every way, through her unorthodoxies (those extra beats in “Cruel”), her visual presentation, and her lyrical preoccupations; in short, she’s found a way to straddle in and out, and St.
Equal parts funky electro throwback and prog chanson monster, St Vincent's fourth album feels like the culmination of a trajectory from the margins to centre stage with a minimum of intellectual loss. These 11 songs are by far Annie Clark's most accessible – check especially the epic Bowie poses of the album's closer, Severed Crossed Fingers, and the heavy riff pop of Regret – but all retain her signature quirks. Rhythm is key here, and on crazed R&B tracks such as Bring Me Your Loves Clark's conservatoire tricks are smuggled in under the guise of party pieces.
opinion byPETER TABAKIS < @ptabakis > St. Vincent’s exhilarating new album sounds inevitable, as if this thing has been waiting to spring forth from the moment Annie Clark first held a guitar. Any notion that it had to be is of course a fallacy, nothing more than a summation of the impeccable creative decisions an artist has made over the years. The logical trajectory that traces a line through each St.
Mere seconds into St. Vincent’s new, bracingly brilliant self-titled album, it becomes clear that the defining moment of Annie Clark’s career is no longer her 2007 debut as her Catechism-indebted nom de plume, but rather her 2012 collaboration with David Byrne on Love This Giant. Clark’s proximity to the former Talking Heads frontman has transformed her from an earthy yet off-kilter singer-songwriter with a penchant for guitar heroics into a full-fledged musician-as-ongoing-art-project.
Annie Clark, aka St. Vincent, is a musical mad scientist. And her new self-titled album is her most advanced experiment to date. With a dash of the dreamy beauty of 2007’s Marry Me, a pinch of the control and jazzy influences of Actor and the David Byrne collab, Love This Giant, as well as a heaping spoonful of the unadulterated power of Strange Mercy, St.
Singer/songwriter; multi-instrumentalist; guitar hero; arch-collaborator; maverick football coach – Annie Clark is the kind of person whose limits seem to be defined only by how many limbs she has free at any particular moment. This restless talent and schizoid energy have come to define her musical output as St. Vincent thus far: three deliriously creative albums (not to mention 2012’s brass band team-up with key influence David Byrne) that walk with one foot in mainstream guitar pop and the other teetering on the lunatic fringe.
St. Vincent (Loma Vista/Republic) "Oh, what an ordinary day/Take out the garbage, masturbate," muses Annie Clark against a glam-rock guitar lick on early single "Birth in Reverse." Fact is, nothing's ordinary about St. Vincent, nom de rock of the Dallas-reared multi-instramentalist. She's forged a career of salting over what otherwise would be pop with an ass-kick of reverb, macabre lyricism, and odd instrumental flourishes that knock her music just left enough of center.
St. Vincent's eponymous title, coming as it does after Annie Clark's three prior solo albums and her collaboration with David Byrne, implies that the record will be a clear statement of intent. Fittingly enough for an artist with near-legendary creative control over her output, the title was a very deliberate decision.
On first listening to Beck’s placid, self-possessed 12th studio album, “Morning Phase,” I did not look him up on Wikipedia to see if he’d broken up with his wife. I was not fully functional: The record’s beauty approaches slowly, floats, surrounds and shuts off external awareness in the ….
Annie Clark’s two greatest strengths are her songwriting and her uncanny shredding ability — in that order, and only separated by a hair’s breadth. But for as much as she’s shown off her fiery fretwork in the past, she always gives the listener a little bit of space to get acclimated to her dreamy, surrealist pop songs before she plugs into a distortion pedal that sounds like a jet engine, and gets to business with some inhuman guitar-neck manipulation. Only Marry Me’s “Now, Now” actually begins any of her albums with the sound of guitar, and even that’s relatively subdued.
Beck “Morning Phase” (Capitol) 4 Stars Beck’s new album, out today, takes place in the netherworld between sleep and waking life. In nearly every song, the singer alludes to a dawning, but it’s not one he seems eager to embrace. He sings in the voice of a sad reverie, distanced and hazy. The songs move drowsily, almost reluctantly.