If one were to judge St. Vincent aka Annie Clark’s fourth album by the cover, it would be easy to conclude that it’s a bombastic and self-empowering record. Whilst this is partially true, St. Vincent – like Clark’s previous records – is also a fierce and boundary-pushing LP that only improves with each listen.
Opening track ‘Rattlesnake’, which retails an apropos encounter between a naked Clark and a rattlesnake, is signature St. Vincent. Sounding like a synthesis of LCD Soundsystem, Jack White, and an arcade game, the tune is eccentric, off-kilter, and a fine example of how pop music can be pushed.
One of the greatest strengths of this record is its proclivity for transformation, as seen on ‘Digital Witness’ and ‘Huey Newton’. The former begins as a grand, brass-driven track before surging into a smooth Bee Gees-inspired chorus whilst the latter abruptly transforms from a soulful ballad into a menacing and gritty guitar-driven number.
Furthermore, the sputtering ‘Birth In Reverse’ and ‘Regret’ provide a healthy dosage of electrifying and speaker-rupturing riffs, demonstrating Clark’s proficiency as a guitarist.
Amongst all this frenetic energy and bizarre instrumentation, album centerpiece “I Prefer Your Love” proves that Clark is also capable of creating touching, toned-down numbers. Featuring drifting strings, trip-hop percussion, and moving lyrics, the song stands as one of the finest tracks on this album.
Closing with the swaying jubilance of ‘Severed Crossed Fingers’, St. Vincent is a grand, rambunctious, and delightfully weird album that will simultaneously confound and impress.
Listen to ‘Digital Witness’ from St.Vincent here: