Aural Pleasure: St. Vincent, 'St. Vincent'

St. Vincent / St. Vincent / Loma Vista

After catching David Byrne and St. Vincent’s highlight-filled tour last year, what best stuck in my mind was the dancing of Ms. Annie Clark, who spent the evening jittering about stage like a broken marionette teetering on high heels. As it turns out, St. Vincent, Clark’s fourth full-length, sounds exactly like her dancing: spastic, alien and ultimately enthralling. This will come as immensely frustrating to anyone wishing for the chamber pop of Actor or the ear-worms of Strange Mercy. But for those willing to accept the new St. Vincent—synth tracks, masturbation jokes, Bride of Frankenstein haircut and all—there’s plenty to love. The opening one-two punch of “Rattlesnake” and “Birth in Reverse” sets the new spaz-rock aesthetic instantly, a sound akin to early ’80s XTC as fed through a dial-up modem. “Huey Newton” may be the best of the bunch, featuring the sort of menacing crescendo Clark hasn’t conjured since “Black Rainbow.” There are duds to be sure, particularly the groan-worthy “I Prefer Your Love.” But considering the brashness of its transition, St. Vincent is an incredible work, one that’ll have you spastically dancing yourself.

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