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4.2 out of 5 stars
Love This Giant
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 30 November 2013
David Byrne and St Vincent have both proven to be intelligent, creative and frankly strange songwriters. There was definitely potential for this album to become a disastrous clash of styles or battle of personalities. In actual fact, the album features the very best of both artists and, though the vocals are slightly Byrne heavy, David Byrne and St Vincent are more or less evenly represented here.

That being said, the music doesn't particularly resemble that of the regular output of either artist. They've combined to create a new sound for Love This Giant. The album relies quite heavily on an occasionally discordant brass section that adds power and energy to the arrangements.The songs were written with the brass section in mind so, far from being a cheap gimmick to market the album the brass section are the backbone and often carry the melody.

St Vincents appeal is not really in her voice. Her voice is not bad by any stretch of the imagination but it's also not really unique in any way. Despite this, the delivery of her unusual lyrics on her own surreal songs such as Ice Age is brilliant. David Byrne has a fascinating voice. At times it is strained and harsh (Who), sometimes it is soft and mysterious (I Am An Ape) and sometimes it's full of emotion and power (Outside Of Space And Time). He never had a perfect and polished voice, even in his Talking Heads days, but he's always known how to use it well. His voice has undeniably aged but it's certainly not gone.

Both artists sing beautifully and the lyrics are clever, witty and really very interesting. Sometimes funny, sometimes serious, sometimes frightening and sometimes completely nonsensical. The songs are as good as you would expect from both artists and really come together to form a consistently brilliant album with no weak tracks to speak of.

Some of the songs are a little tricky to "get" on the first listen, so the album is something of a slowburner but more than worth the extra time and effort. Songs that initially seemed impenetrably bizarre to me are now established favourites.

Fans of both artists will be satisfied with this in their collection but you needn't be an established fan of either to enjoy Love This Giant. It may not be the most popular or widely known album in existence but it's different, it's creative and most importantly it sounds fantastic. Here's hoping there is a follow up album to come.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
TOP 100 REVIEWERon 10 September 2012
You can probably tell by the cover image of Annie Clark and her strange jaw that there is bound to be a degree of oddness afoot here and this is backed up by the music, which is definitely not "mainstream". Lyrical quirks abound, and the stop/start rhythms take a bit of getting used to but patience is rewarded as you begin to appreciate that this is music for grown ups, not to be listened to and immediately discarded but to be savoured again and again as new textures and soundscapes reveal themselves. There are electronic treatments aplenty as well as melifluous brass (is that a tuba in there?) some funky bass and guitar, basically the "unexpected" that you'd expect from these 2. For me a couple of tracks don't quite work, Ice age doesn't really go anywhere and the forest awakes goes on a bit, but these are minor personal quibbles that others may not share. Well worth a listen.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 25 March 2013
These two mavericks should have found each other a million years ago...they fit seamlessly in style, emotion, quirkiness and sheer genius! As a result of listening to this, I have booked to see them on their tour this summer!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 4 April 2014
This is a superb collaboration. Who - 1st track - was one of the best single releases of 2012 and worth 5 stars in isolation. The other tracks aren't as immediately forthcoming but give them time and they'll grow and grow on you.
Personally, I'm obsessed with David Byrne's "hup" noises.. you'll know what I mean when you listen to the album..
Highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 5 May 2015
Well, I used to be a big fan of TH. and found some solo ventures of Mr Byrne interesting, some even 'seminal' like "My life in the bush.."; but here, after the surprise of the first track, in my humble opinion, everything spirals down into boredom.
Above all I find his singing rather flat tyre(d).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 6 April 2014
How on earth did this album slip under the radar. It is a master piece of quirkiness with some truly unique arrangements to superb songs. Worth 5 stars because there something everyone will like on this record.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 12 November 2012
It took me a little time to like this slightly unusually composed piece. First off was the poor quality cd casing, a cellulose sleeve such as you get with giveaways on the fronts of magazines. I had to repair the split side of mine immediately with two metal staples. Next was the idea of the alternating songs or duets. Why not just undiluted Byrne? He is hard to compete with lyrically. He has this habit of rendering the banal mysterious in such a strangely compelling style, that it keeps forcing you to think how he does it. However, St Vincent puts in some excellent, unusual but poppy songs that seem to work equally well. After a little patient listening the combination has come to seem a good idea. I like the whole album alot (the artwork itself is interesting too). St Vincent is obviously a talent. Of the many good songs 'I Should Watch TV' is probably the best. It leaves you wanting more. Brass, deep simple bass and raw guitar. If they did another album I would buy that too.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 16 August 2013
I was a massive Talking Heads fan and as such I started following Byrne solo career, only to be disappointed over time. I fully acknowledge Byrne quirkiness and his dedication to music. However, it is a long time since I heard anything innovative or memorable in his production. "Love this giant" is no exception. It starts with "Who", probably the strongest song of the whole LP. Byrne and St. Vincent share the vocals; the sound is rich and quirky enough, with the notorious brass adding an edge. So far, so good.

Unfortunately from song number two, one has the impression of hearing different variations of the first songs. None of the pieces is memorable, several have abrupt ending and the quirky brass is always there, slowly turning the novelty into the soundtrack of a circus show. Byrne and St. Vincent alternate lead vocals. Byrne's voice has never been great and it is not improving. St. Vincent's voice is more pleasant, but not enough to save the project.

Personally, I am not interested in theatre productions, but unfortunately this type of sound is more theatre than rock (or pop). Finally, I read some reviews stating that one must "get used" to the sound. I do not agree about this approach, as I listen to music for pleasure and I do not think music should be endured just because the authors are respectable professionals. Respecting the authors does not rule out finding their output disappointing.

Obviously, I would not recommend, unless you are a massive Byrne and/or St. Vincent fan.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 14 September 2012
This is a great, rewarding Lp that keeps me going back for more. If you like Byrne or St Vincent you'll find plenty to enjoy here, even though it doesn't really sound like either of them.
The true, inspired moment of genius is the decision to base most of the instrumentation around a funky, vibrant brass section which keeps the momentum chugging along nicely and ensures you hear new things with each listen.
I also like the way the two protagonists take it in turns to 'lead' a track, rather than having one or the other dominate the whole Lp. It sounds like a proper collaboration and one that's loads and loads of fun. One of the best Lps of 2012.
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on 22 March 2015
These two are a very good pairing, I'm not familiar with the music of St. Vincent but am a huge David Byrne fan, and this is a worthy addition to the catalog.
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