June 22, 2010

St. Vincent - Actor

This is perhaps one of the coolest albums I have bought in a while. St Vincent is the recording name of Annie Clark, who dropped out of Berkley, where she was a guitarist / multi-instrumentalist.

On her second album, Actor, she successfully makes her point early. I have never heard a first track that sums up the entire album so well. The Strangers is almost Actor in a nutshell. Slow, beautiful harmonies backed by synthy strings and mellow backbeats. Then, suddenly, noise. Static. Whatever you want to call it. The Strangers is a milder form of the album. There are much slower songs, and much louder, noisier ones as well.

So, in short, Actor is musical genius masked in fuzz. Slightly annoying fuzz, though.

But then I saw her live. And I was blown away. The bright white light that so often filled the stage highlighted every frizzy curl in her hair. She threw herself across the stage with her music, constantly working dozens of little pedals on the ground. All of a sudden, the music would stop suddenly, and the lights would go out. Sometimes seconds and sometimes minutes later all possible strobe lights would go off and she would almost violently throw herself to the floor or unbearable noise would fill the room. It was pretty cool. Her music had me sometimes frantically plugging my ears, and sometimes jumping up and down. It was a great show.

St Vincent easily earns eight out of ten for a pretty darn cool album.


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