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  • Actor
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Customer reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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on 26 May 2013
I am a long time fan of Talking Heads and in particular David Byrne so was intrigued at his collaboration with St Vincent. I began looking for her own music and was not disappointed. A powerful but wide vocal range that often put me in mind of Rikki Lee Jones. At times quirky, sometimes introspective but never ever boring or predictable! I now have everything this underrated songstress has done.
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on 3 April 2013
Annie Clark takes the ideas from her first album and takes it up a notch. This album feels more consistent in theme and style than her first album but still holds on to the beautiful string arrangements and use of a whole range of sounds, not to forget her fantastic guitar playing abilities and soothing vocals. Tracks like 'Laughing With a Mouth of Blood' and 'Marrow' ad pace and volume to the album, while songs like 'Black Rainbow' and 'Just the Same But Brand New' give the album a lovely escapist warmth as well as sinister slightly eerie undertones. Top it all off with her poetic metaphorical lyrics and this album is really something to sink your teeth into.

Warm, fuzzy and a little grimy at times. A flawless piece of music and on Vinyl looks and sounds fantastic.
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on 13 February 2018
Loved it
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on 2 September 2015
yeah good, but then I'm a convert, she's very different
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on 11 June 2009
This is surely the best album to have been released so far this year. St Vincent's first album was impressive, but her second is way better. Annie Clark's musical vision is profoundly special. She can be simultaneously funky, disturbing and melancholy. Her tracks are put together like sublime leftfield jigsaws. My one quibble would be the brief final piece, which is less than essential. Apart from that, it's quite brilliant. And puts artists like Bjork, Bat For Lashes etc, completely in the shade. There have already been plenty of overhyped albums in the past six months, but this is certainly better than them, and the fact that it will no doubt be generally overlooked, only goes to show the ridiculous nature of the music business. Buy it now.
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on 31 August 2015
I think you have to be a massive fan. I bought this because of good reviews but actually gave it away as I do not like it .
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on 20 February 2015
Sounds amazing
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on 12 April 2017
highly original
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Ms Clark (aka St Vincent) is an exotic creature and
her new album 'Actor' is an extraordinary confection.

An idiosyncratic composer and quirky performer
of her own uncompromising material.

She possesses a fine voice which never needs to force
itself to attain maximum emotional and dramatic impact.

The eleven songs in this collection run the gamut
from strange to stranger still.

There is real drama in this music. Edgy sonic landscapes;
tangled emotional webs; elusive imagery; grand designs.
Never too far away, none-the-less, lurks a highly refined
and sophisticated pop sensibility.
Ms Clark really does know her way around a good tune.

'The Neighbours' is an absolute riot of a composition.
The sunny vocal performance shines out against a jarring
background of chaos and distortion. The off-kilter instumental
melody at its centre is a perfect little masterstroke.

'Actor Out Of Work' is a stark and bitter slice of mayhem.
The cinemascope vocal harmonies are delightfully spooky.

'Black Rainbow', with its beguiling woodwind arrangement,
confirms evidence of Ms Clarke's inate musicality.
This is writing of the richest, rarest kind.
The dramatic escalation of tension in the coda is truly thrilling.

The scintillating introduction to 'Marrow' evolves into one of
the most remarkable pieces of music I have heard this year.
Brutal and beautiful in equal measure.

'Just The Same but Brand New' is another powerhouse of a song
paving the way for the delicately elusive ending provided
by the tiny two minute wonder 'The Sequel'.
One precious last enigmatic breath and suddenly it's all over.

The quality and complexity of the production never wavers for a moment.

A work of wayward genius. Nothing more - nothing less.

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According to St. Vincent aka Annie Clark, "Actor" is all about losers. Unhappy, lonely people who are struggling to tread water.

Hey, any album that has makes the emoesque line "paint the black hole blacker" work has got to have something special. And Clark's second solo album is a little lot of unhappiness and melancholy wrapped in woobling synth and vintage crackles, eruptions of blurry sound and beautiful vocals. It has a more unified sound than her debut, twisting catchy pop melodies into unpredictable streams of oddball indie music.

"Lover, I don't play to win/For the thrill until I'm spent/Paint the black hole blacker... What do I share?/What do I keep from all the strangers who sleep where I sleep," St Vincent sings wistfully over an angular little accordion-laced melody. About halfway through, it whirls off into echoing space while the synth spirals around her.

It's followed the ethereal, drum-saturated "Save Me From What I Want," fast-paced guitar pop laced with drawling vocals, and whirling fever dreams of slightly warped pop melodies -- they're soaked in woobly organ, cacophonous eruptions of sound, and interludes of dreamlike synth. The album winds down on a mellower note with the last trio of songs: the off-kilter piano pop of the "The Party" (which serves as an awe-inspiring climax), the crystalline fragility of "Just The Same But Brand New," and the wistful horn-saturated drift of "The Sequel."

Not to mention "The Bed," a delicate tangle of piano and twittering flute... until you realize that it's about children who have "gotta teach them all a lesson" ("them" being all-too-human monsters) with their "dear daddy's Smith and Wesson." Seriously: "Stop, right where you stand/We need a chalk outline if you can/Put your hands where we can see them please...")

Speaking just for myself, I like my pop music to either be energetic enough to not merely be catchy, or bizarre enough to stand out in a sea of mediocre, instantly forgettable pop hooks. You know, the garbage that pop tarts regularly put out Fortunately St Vincent is more than quirky enough to fit the bill -- and while her previous album "Marry Me" was a colourful splash of different sounds, "Actor" is a more subtle affair with a more melancholic sound.

Most of the songs are polished, smooth concoctions with lots of classical instrumentation -- piano, twittering flute, sharp drums, horns, and violins that switch between smooth instrumentals and squiggling bow-noises -- as well as weaving in some nimble guitar melodies. But those songs are given odd warps and bends thanks to the synth, which washes itself through every melody -- sweeps, squiggles, fuzzing, and the occasional rich organ.

And then back to the album's theme: losers. Lots of 'em. Okay, it's a little harsh to describe every song as being losercentric, but it isn't focused on happy people.

Most of the songs are imbued with a sense of everyday loneliness -- an unhappy trip home ("All of my old friends aren't so friendly/All of my old haunts are now all haunting me"), nighttime drives, parties that are over and broken loves. St. Vincent has a rich smooth voice, a knack for clever phrases ("my pockets hang out like two surrender flags") and a few angular snatches of poetry ("The unkissed boys and girls of paradise /Are lining up around the block/Back pockets full of dynamite...").

"Actor" is a gorgeously off-kilter pop album that sounds like a visit to a lonely urban street, full of rain and unhappy people. Bravo, St. Vincent.
7 people found this helpful
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