St. Vincent

St. Vincent

The last time we caught up with St. Vincent’s Annie Clark, she was standing front and center at the Arlington Theatre alongside former Talking Heads frontman David Byrne, shredding in support of the pair’s saxed-up 2012 collaboration, Love This Giant. While her latest self-titled offering doesn’t boast quite the herky-jerky oddity of that record, it’s immediately apparent that Clark took something away from the Byrne experience. Her tightly knit and expertly coiled riffs are at an all-time best here. On “Rattlesnake,” the guitars are effected to emulate a fuzzy synth; for “Birth in Reverse,” they provide a power-saw-like backbone to lilting lines about technology’s vise grip. But in between Clark’s now-signature jarring and spazzy twists, she makes a concerted effort to keep things, well, kind of groovy. It would be a stretch to call St. Vincent Clark’s “dance record,” but it’s certainly the closest she’s come yet. Take “Huey Newton,” which starts out as a disco-esque slow-burner before making a sharp 180-degree turn around the two-and-a-half-minute mark. From there, Clark comes out, grinding guitars a-blazing, her voice at once biting and wide-eyed, spiteful and gamine. Of course, therein lies Clark’s secret weapon: She’s a peculiar mix of feminine ingénue and power-stancing rock goddess, and St. Vincent only serves to drive that point home, one danceable riff at a time.

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