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MUSIC REVIEW: Provocative, evocative; St. Vincent runs gamut of emotions


Annie Clark, aka St. Vincent, hit the rare and dynamically brilliant nail on the head with her latest indie album “Strange Mercy.”

Clark’s third album is one packed with the juxtaposition of thick, hot, fuzzed-out guitar riffs and her airy, deep and sensual voice that finds the perfect balance strived for in previous albums “Marry Me” and “Actor.”

Hailing from Dallas, St. Vincent has an attractive background as a former member of Polyphonic Spree and Sufjan Stevens’ band. But it’s only in St. Vincent that Clark can demonstrate her refined and intelligent understanding of music.

St. Vincent kills it from the start with a cool, wispy intro “Chloe in the Afternoon,” that reveals the marvelously intricate balance between beauty in life and that in death.

“Cheerleader” is the next seductive, drunken, strip-tease theme song for the hipster temptress featuring distorted guitar parts soaked in black eyeliner and wrapped in hot lint.

“Cruel,” is a more up-tempo tune that sits well with the indie dance collection, though you can find a groove in any of Clark’s songs.

Clark is a tempo change guru; beats change all through the album and song. No two songs ever sound the same.

“Surgeon,” “Northern Lights” and “Neutered Fruit” are also up-tempo but each is different. They are funky with dashes of blues and jazz. A crazy analog keyboard and low-end bass add an obscure twist to the blend.

“Champagne Year” and “Strange Mercy” are serious, slower tunes with ample emotion. “Strange Mercy” seems to be the only song where Clark’s voice is unmodified, and damn it, it is divinely captivating.

Overall, “Strange Mercy” is a profoundly poignant mix of the brilliant contrast between low-end bass, fuzzed-out guitars and serene vocals. Seductive, beautiful and complex are a few of the underlying vibes that keep and will continue to keep St. Vincent an intelligent and progressive leader in the indie scene.

Rating - 4.5 out of 5 stars

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