Never one to shy away from experimentation, St. Vincent’s latest self-titled album is full of juxtapositions in both style and content. It takes a certain amount of boldness to flee so haphazardly between various techniques and themes, but Annie Clark does this fearlessly. The result is an interesting clash of 80s electro-pop and brash indie-rock.
Abrasive guitar riffs and saccharine synths collide throughout as Clark leaps from post-punk tunes like ‘Rattlesnake’ to pop anthems such as ‘Digital Witness’. Contrastively, ‘I Prefer Your Love’ is a refreshing break from the overall surrealism and showcases Clark’s ability to tone down the energy but maintain the substance.
Lyrically, St. Vincent is a cluster of opposing and sometimes random emotions. Lyrics such as “who you gonna bed next?” are brazen, but many songs evade any concrete understanding. Clark tackles issues of love, gender, sexuality and faith as images of the mundane and the manic dance throughout. The puzzling, sometimes schizophrenic nature of the lyrical content adds to the unwavering attention demanded by this album.
Clark’s vocal style is often in your face, while there is also a delicate, feminine quality inherent in her voice at times. From the crazed tones of ‘Birth In Reverse’, to the sensuous highs of ‘Prince Johnny’, her vocals are arrestingly beautiful. Even the moments of sleaze retain a lingering hint of glamour.
In A Nutshell: An impressive demonstration of Clark’s talent as she drifts from angelic pop princess to snarling indie queen with grace and ambition.