St. Vincent -‘Strange Mercy.’ (4AD)
Texan Annie Clark’s third album – the follow-up to 2009’s rather wonderful Actor – demonstrates why her profile and reputation are continuing to grow rather nicely.Clark is an artist who thinks outside the box and gives the impression of being in total control. This record demonstrates once and for all that she is not just another femail singer-songwriter – but an artist who performs in the vein of a Kate Bush or a Laurie Anderson.
This record is more synthesizer-driven than Actor -‘Northern Lights’ and ‘Surgeon’ are two very different tracks whichshow Clark pushing the extremes of what can be done within the confines of the pop song.
The standout track on Actor was probably ‘Actor Out Of Work’ and I think ‘Cruel’ is the outstanding track here. If I have a criticism of this record, it would be that the lyrics can sometimes seem a little below par. ‘No; if I ever meet the dirty policeman who roughed you up…?’ er, what exactly?
Whilst I think there is a truly outstanding album yet to come from Ms. Clark, this album shows her continuing to grow, as an artist to continue watching. She is getting on top of here game, fairly ahead of it in many ways – and best of all, doesn’t play the game.
Strange Mercy is out now on 4AD.