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coverpic flag US - Texas - Full Moon 215 - 03/16/14

St. Vincent
St. Vincent
Loma Vista (UK) / Republic Records (US)

My favourite brunette is back. However, please do not tell my wife. Singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Annie Clark is St. Vincent, and St. Vincent is her fourth album. Well, thinking of it she does not seem like a brunette anymore. Maybe she's not a fave of mine no longer either.

Annie Clark has quite a resume: the former Berklee College of Music student turned a dropout. She has been quoted for stating: "...at some point you have to learn all you can and then forget everything that you learned in order to actually start making music." After leaving Berklee, Clark joined The Polyphonic Spree at home in Texas. In 2004 she joined Glenn Branca's 100 guitar orchestra performance project. After leaving The Polyphonic Spree she joined Sufjan Stevens' touring band (in 2006), where she brought along a tour EP entitled Paris is Burning (which contained a cover version of Jackson Browne's "These Days" - a song that he wrote for Nico, plus 2 of her own songs. Her debut album, Marry Me (Beggars Banquet 2007) came shortly after. Further on came second album Actor (4AD 2009), and then her third album, Strange Mercy (4AD 2011). Then, in 2012, she released an album in collaboration with new wave legend David Byrne entitled Love This Giant.

St. Vincent still shows proof of being a playful and unpredictable artist. What I do not get this time is the synthetic/electronic touch or tint of the songs and the sounds of Clarke. Charm and innocence is replaced by, or rather is overshadowed by, or covered with a 'modern', often disco-floor-like make-up - in the rhythms and soundscapes. That said St. Vincent still have some entertaining songs, such as the whimsical "Huey Newton" and the elegant "Severed Crossed Fingers". She also comes up with, uh... different compositions, like "Psychopath" and "Bring Me Your Loves", which are tracks that keep her strings attached to the indie circles, instead of letting the mainstream swallow herself.

St. Vincent still is an artist with integrity and credibility, but St. Vincent does not move me as her first album(s) did. It is not even close.

Copyright © 2014 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, Strange Mercy.

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