St. Vincent - St. Vincent

26 February, 2014

Photo Credit: Blemmed.com




By Eoin Hanlon



The quirky but incredibly authentic and original Annie Clark, better known as St. Vincent (which also happens to be the name of the fourth album) appears to have really found her stride with her latest effort. The artwork is fantastically alien, and may come across as some Lady Gaga rip-off to the ignorant. However, what it seems to imply is a separation of persona and artist, an attempt to use St. Vincent as a force for musical creativity, with Annie Clark at the helm to bring a human element to the ideas she explores in her work.


Although I am a fan of her past albums, I've found that her extensive instrumental ability has sometimes cluttered her music. After listening to St. Vincent, it's clear that the polymath of musical instruments has managed to achieve the refinement that her talent needed; she has found exactly what she wants to do and has done so with unabashed confidence as shown with the self-assured, wonderfully surreal and autobiographical opening track, 'Rattlesnake'. This assurance is unlike anything seen in her other albums; of course the likes of 'Strange Mercy' and 'Marry Me' are great records, but in comparison St. Vincent seems to have balls. It doesn't surprise me that this has come after the fantastic collaborative effort Love this Giant where Clark worked with the great David Byrne of The Talking Heads. One track that appears to be a spiritual extension of their work together is 'Digital Witness'; which is wonderfully arranged with a catchy beat of brass with humorous and infectious lyrics depicting the desperate need for constant attention that people need thanks to the rise of social media.


The ever-loving themes that Clark has explored in prior albums of violence, sex, love and public/private representations of the self (through remarkable characterization) are still present in St. Vincent. The difference is that Clark's lyrical ability has developed wonderfully to fully compliment the quirky, jagged, distorted aggression and also the occasional ode to Kate Bush-ballad. Clark's voice has the capacity to express moments of emotional clarity and yet in the next verse hype up an inner rock-goddess that demands authority. Annie Clark has managed to find an admirable medium between her respected genre by blending it with contemporary pop in an effective and unique manner.


One criticism I have of the album is that it sounds overproduced in places, although when considering some of the themes in the album; such as organic and inorganic ideas of man and mankind's fetishisation of machinery, it makes sense. This blend also opens a debate concerning the artificial nature of modern pop music. In that sense it works in relation to what Clark is exploring, however as a consumer of the music it does make moments of the album somewhat underwhelming.


That in mind, the tracks that I keep returning to are: Rattlesnake, Birth in Reverse, Digital Witness, Regret, Bring me your Loves and Psychopath. St. Vincent, both the artist and the album, is eclectic but completely revels in the organized chaos that is rivaled only by artists of iconic stature now. St. Vincent has the capacity to be Clark's defining work into the mainstream and if there is any solo female artist that deserves such success, it's Annie Clark.








Primary Genre: Pop


Secondary Genre: Electronic, Indie


Release Date: February 24th, 2014


Label: Republic Records


Like this and you'll probably also like: Feist, Bjork, Grizzly Bear, The Antlers, The Walkmen


Album Highlights: Birth in Reverse, Rattlesnake, Digital Witness, Regret







St. Vincent - Birth in Reverse





St. Vincent - Digital Witness






Go for it.