Friday, October 30, 2009

Vincent's "Actor" saintly

St. Vincent - "Actor"
4ad Records
-out now
4 / 5

Surprising song arrangements make Annie Clark's second solo album a deep, complex treat. Clark, aka St. Vincent, has a penchant for constructing songs that demand multiple listens; after the initial shock of "The Strangers" and its bizarre instrumentation (Clark's whispery voice supported by keyboard and a basic beat), the album fills in with several songs of warmth and worth. One such song is the gorgeously personal "The Party," whose simple cadence and contemplative vocals highlight an awkward moment together. The lyrics here ("my pockets hang out/Like two surrendered flags") capture the beauty of the moment and speak it truthfully, which is, of course, the two things any artist should strive for. Expect an album replete with such moments ("Black Rainbow" and "Laughing with a Mouthful of Blood" provide as well), though don't expect an easy listen-through or two. Recommended.

Listen to "The Strangers": www.myspace.com/453173424

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