Hanging out with David Byrne has changed St Vincent. There’s a definite aura of their 2012 collaboration, ‘Love This Giant’ (review), which remains on this new self-titled album – the brass, the synth pop, the choppy melodies, the white noise of distortion.
The sweet, soulful pop singer with excellent guitar skills is here - but her new sound is edgier, rockier and more psychedelic. There’s jagged guitar over flickering and swirling synths and her voice is harsh, expressive and looking for attention. Just take the risky but excellent ‘Bring Me Your Loves’ – it’s exciting, like nothing she’s done before, but still great pop.
‘Birth In Reverse’ is industrial and in your face, even glam rock in places. Annie Clark’s voice dangles on the edge of breaking in places. It’s a stark contrast to the almost gospel ‘Prince Johnny’ with its layers of soft vocals floating like a gentle organ chord in the background as she sings, “We’re all sons of someone’s.”
Every song bashes together classic pop with new surprises, pushing this album into must-have territory. There are the seductive tones of ‘Huey Newton’, ending in a Flaming Lips-like fuzz fest; the eccentric concoction of ‘Regret’, where her previous life with Sufjan Stevens and The Polyphonic Spree shines through; and the Byrne-loving ‘Psychopath’. The devil’s in the detail, and it makes for a brilliant record.
Words: Gemma Hampson
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