Album: St. Vincent, Strange Mercy (4AD)
Friday 09 September 2011
For her third album as St. Vincent, Annie Clark has jettisoned the baroque string and woodwind arrangements that marked 2009's Actor, in favour of more direct, guitar-based settings.
Not that these songs are any less strange for that: on the opener "Chloe in the Afternoon", the distorted guitar, harsh organ and brutal drumbeat all seem to be pursuing different agendas, and it's not until "Cruel" – a weird, rhapsodic MOR march with a buzzy hook, about feral kids – that a proper riff invites the listener in. "Cheerleader" is assertively anthemic, while "Northern Lights" is a churning Velvets grind-rocker notable for Clark's berserker guitar solo. Elsewhere, woozy keyboard pads and terse, soulful guitar riffs collude in the triumphalist march of "Hysterical Strength". Inspiration is not in short supply.
DOWNLOAD THIS: Cruel; Strange Mercy; Cheerleader; Northern Lights
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