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coverpic flag US - Texas - Full Moon 185 - 10/12/11

St. Vincent
Strange Mercy
4AD / Playground

When I picked up Annie Clark a.k.a St. Vincent's Tour EP some 5 years ago, when she's warming up for Sufjan Stevens (as well as being in his touring band), I was immediately charmed. 'Brunettes...', my girlfriend snarled.

Then, in 2007 came her debut, Marry Me, which I liked a lot. Even though I couldn't say 'Yes, I will' (The year after I married my girlfriend. Two years ago she put out her second album, the more cinematic sounding Actor. Well, I didn't check it out that well. Now, here's her third, and I'd better see what's she been doing lately.

A few spins on and my first impression is that Strange Mercy shows that St. Vincent has left the cinematic angle, and is now leaning towards more of a theatrical atmosphere. That said this is dramatic stuff done in a most low-toned way. Like Clark's being an introvert drama queen, if there is such a being or mood. Annie Clark for sure is a multi-instrumentalist and singer-songwriter with great skills and high qualities. Yet, I find Strange Mercy to be a difficult record, or it doesn't quite hit me/catch me. Sure, here are some songs I like; like "Cruel", with its cool guitars, and the fine "Cheerleader". The title track is quite powerful, despite being a bit too synthetic sounding. The quiet "Champagne Year" is another beauty. And the mystic closing track "Year Of The Tiger" is quite intriguing.

All in all I'm not overly enthusiastic about Strange Mercy. I still think St. Vincent is a talented artist. It's just that the talent has gone a bit astray this time.

Copyright © 2011 Håvard Oppøyen e-mail address

You may also want to check out our St. Vincent articles/reviews: Actor, Marry Me, Paris Is Burning - Tour EP, St. Vincent.

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