US - Texas - Full Moon 156 - 06/07/09
4AD / Playground
St. Vincent is Annie Clarck from the flatlands of Texas, and former member of the choral, symphonic rock band The Polyphonic Spree. She has also lately
been touring with Sufjan Stevens. Her award winning debut Marry Me from 2007 made the expectations for her sophomore
album pretty high. But no worries, Actor is more than you could ever have hoped for.
Actor opens with "The Strangers", a deceivingly sweet and love-longing, almost grandiose pop-tune, which takes a disturbing, but no less charming,
noisy direction. This mixture of the most dulcet and hard racketing tones continues more or less through the album, in a never ending flirt with the listener.
The second track takes the flirtatious aspect a bit further in the kiss-off sophisticated "Save Me From What I Want", which also make St. Vincent's lyrics shine. Because what makes not just this song in particular, but the album as a whole, such a delightful acquaintance is the refined lyrics. Like on the song
"Bed", where you get the sweetest line: "We sleep under the bed to keep the monsters out", wrapped in a cinematic sound, that could have been taken from any of the old fantasy movies, and I mean really old, like the Wizard of Oz or Sleeping Beauty.
Actually, "Bed" isn't the only song with a soundscape with relations to those films, this could be said about most of the other tracks as well. But with
the small exception for "The Neighbours" and the single "Actor Out Of Work", that turns out to be one of the less enchanting songs on the record, even if it
is a very catchy tune. But its just that, its just ordinary contemporary catchy. And this is also about my only objection to anything on this over all elegant
album, that when she goes too contemporary it also turns less remarkable.
But in the end St. Vincent has with Actor delivered a disturbingly sophisticated and beautiful cinematic-pop album.
Copyright © 2009 Aslaug O Klausen