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Album Review: Annie Clark Makes a Breakthrough With “St. Vincent”

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st-vincent-album-cover-600x600Dallas native Annie Clark is better known as the singer St. Vincent. Last year she took a naked stroll out in the back 40 on a friend’s ranch.  Alone and miles away from help, she was supremely startled by a rattlesnake and took off running, frightened as hell, sure that the snake was right behind her. That experience kicks off her delightfully quirky, self titled new album, “St Vincent”. And of course the song is called “Rattlesnake” and before long you almost feel like you’re running alongside her and “sweating, sweating” to the chorus. For some reason the song’s style and adrenaline rhythm track remind me of the “Run, Lola Run” soundtrack.

Her Best Yet!

“St. Vincent” is Clark’s fourth album and on this one she absolutely nails it – her best yet.  The singer/guitarist could be perceived as an off beat performance artist but her previous material didn’t have nearly the appealing energy this one has. Here, Clark has dialed in her sometimes nightmarish thoughts with a consistent set of songs she says were inspired by dreams.  Each track features one drummer, two analog mini-moog and digital synth players plus herself on distorted electric guitar.

Pals With A Talking Head

Going for the gold this time with “St. Vincent” could be courtesy of Clark’s pal and Talking Heads founder, David Byrne. He encouraged the singer to stretch out and layer her edgy often disturbing lyrics over thumping rhythms like they did on their horn driven collaboration album, “Love This Giant”, and subsequent tour last year.  It’s paid off.  Listen to “synth horns” on  “Digital Witness”.  Clark’s scathing slam about excessive television watching and internet socializing.

Another track, “Regret” is punctuated in the middle by Clark’s sparse but fuzzed up garage guitar accentuating the isolation of getting bounced out of a relationship involving some “wish I hadn’t said that” remarks.

Creeps Up On You

Clark somehow makes her unusual thoughts and dark fears seem almost uplifting thanks to the pulsating beats of the band and her grungy but perky guitar playing.  There’s something eerily inviting about “St. Vincent” that creeps up on you and will stick in your head for a long time to come. – Eric Berg

VIDEO:

Not your usual – St. Vincent live Feb 2014. The sound is sub-par but she’s not.

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