Album: St Vincent
Record Label: Loma Vista Records
Release Date: February 24th 2014.
Annie Clark is known for releasing her more than slightly strange sounds, but her fifth album makes this extremely palatable. 7 years since her first album was released, and her record with Albarne being released two years ago, this release has been eagerly awaited.
The opening track, ‘Rattlesnake’, introduces this with almost entirely analogue instruments, a hard hitting vocal melody and then a rusty, bold guitar solo of a bridge that completes the sound and sets a foundation for the rest of the album.
Merging a digital-funk sound with a slight 80’s pop sound, the record continues with the deep analogue sounds in the intro to ‘Birth In Reverse’, and the eclectic collection of distortion and vocals make each track distinctly different, each revealing a different part of Annie Clark. Each of the songs on the record are incredibly unique, yet as each song cuts to the next it happens so seamlessly.
And the fact that she manages this despite the jarring texture of the music is a stunning feat.
As the album progresses, ‘Prince Johnny’ brings in a slow-tempo ballad that triggers thoughts of Lana Del Ray’s ‘Born To Die’ yet does so in a way that highlights the excellent composure and perfectly poised nature of the track in comparison to the Del Ray song, with each verse of lyrics seeping emotion. Even in the ballads, Clark seems to translate her feelings into something gripping and leaving us in a state of reverie.
Each synth line, each drum hit, each word sung are full of attitude as ethereal sounding bars go straight into heavy guitar riffs, a very, very bold move. But Annie Clark pulls this off in a way nobody but St Vincent could – her soft but dirty sound rich in influence from the likes of Damon Albarne (having toured with him last year after their collaborative album), her ballads reminiscing Madonna, and the chaos of her sound, at times even seeming to draw from the likes of King Crimson.
This chaos is perfectly constructed in ‘Digital Witness’, the catchy, horn-led track first released from the album – and the bizarre attributes to her sound are not downplayed in this album at all, but instead paired with the pop sound that makes it incredible and intriguing listening.
An album of smooth chaos, full of texture and depth – St Vincent’s latest release definitely lives up to all anticipation. This record is over 40 minutes of chaotic, poetic and entrancing work by Annie Clark, who has yet again achieved true style in her sound.
Featured Image: Loma Vista Records / Shorefire