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TOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 14 September 2011
The beguiling strengths of Annie Clark's 2009 album 'Actor' quite swept me
away. Wonderfully strange music from an idiosyncratic performer quite
out on her own in the wild-woman-walking-on-the-left-hand-side-of-
the-middle-of-the-the-road-stakes! A maker of magical sonic worlds
quite unlike anything else out there. A truly talented maverick.
('Black Rainbow' still gives me the chills every time I listen to it!)

Her new album is no-less full of wonderment. 'Strange Mercy', her third
release, drags us willingly back into familiar territory but there is a
greater edge and power in these eleven songs than she has unleashed before.
The opening track 'Chloe In The Afternoon' is a stunning outpouring of
raw and unbridled energy. The savage guitar hits us in the solar plexus
like a runaway bulldozer; the pounding drums a call to pagan worship and
at its heart Ms Clarke's delicate and contrasting vocal delivery strives to
find some kind of still centre in the chaos. A solid mass of contradictions.

Its polar opposite is the quite beautiful 'Champagne Year', a deeply
affecting melody shot through with ethereal pedal-steel guitar, dark
subterranean beats and glistening synth arpeggios. A web of enchantment.

Her pithy personal lyrical observations on 'Cheerleader' (a song about NOT
wanting to be a cheerleader) mix pathos and dry humour in equal measure and
final track 'Year Of The Tiger' struts and swaggers its stuff magnificently!

It is to the glorious invention 'Cruel' that we should turn, however, to
encounter Ms Clarke's finest moment. The heavenly harmonies and blistering
guitar frame a song of infectious and near-hysterical widescreen extravagance.
Its sheer bravado made me laugh out loud. Three and a half minutes of pure joy!

'Strange Mercy' deserves our full attention and rapturous applause.

Highly Recommended.
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on 24 March 2017
Strange Mercy
Seems silly to review this, it was advertised as a music cd, and that is what it is.
The music on it is the music which is supposed to be on it.
It works
What else can be said, unless I am supposed to give a review of the music on the cd - I can do that
- You might like all of it
- You might like some of it
- You might like none of it
- It is subjective
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 9 February 2012
Showing quirky inventiveness and an ear for a good tune Annie Clark shepherds her third album into life and with its mix of guitar fuzz and breathy vocals it works its charm well.

Not everything is immediate here. On first listen Cheerleader sounds an odd choice for a single for example, but its chorus seems to lodge in your memory on repeated listens. Northern Lights sounds like it could be recorded in the eighties with guitar feedback to give it a more modern feel. Hysterical Strength starts like Talking Heads Crosseyed and Painless and then goes slightly more mainstream. Certainly you can hear their influences as well as Kate Bush and many others.

The lyrics are dark and the music stark. This really delivers a memorable suite of songs that are inventive enough to stand out and not too off the wall to alienate. Deservedly ending up on end of the year lists this is a solid offering that is well worth checking out.
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on 12 September 2011
Annie Clark strikes a downright divine balance between scornful rock squall and serenely sweet vocalizing.
Her third album is her most mercurial yet, a dense clash of post-punk fuzz and baroque-pop rumination, with esoteric 'new elements, from atonal electro-jazz to synth scratches to cheeky talkbox.
While she was charmingly fey on 2007 debut Marry Me [CD] and caustic on 2009 follow-up "Actor", she's introspective and fanciful here, crafting a single mother's lullaby on the title track, and repenting for her insecure past on "Cheerleader".
Yet she's no passive pom-pom girl: Clark's complex femininity, both self-possessed and keenly evolving, is what makes her music so powerful and fascinating. S. Anderson
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on 24 November 2011
Quite simply, superb. The most inventive, interesting and surprising Lp I've heard this year. I'm a sucker for a good tune, and this Lp has plenty of those too. Like a more quirky, ballsy and melodic Joan Wasser. This has the feel of a tour de force album from start to finish.
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on 3 April 2013
This album is Annie Clark's most minimalist album. She ditched the rich and thick sound you can find on 'Actor' and 'Marry Me' for a simple more empty sound... but it works! The album is incredibly consistent thematically and in sound, the album is overflowing with incredible guitar riffs and electronic sounds, noise, grime and rhythm. It's short and sweet and doesn't feel like it overstays its welcome. Expect more sinister lyrics and dark undertones topped with synths and heavy, loud drum beats. By far her most aggressive album.

Funky and stylish but also sinister. The Vinyl version quite cleverly comes with a download code for a digital version so you can keep this masterpiece on your MP3 player ect. And also the vinyl disk for this album is white which looks rather lovely.
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VINE VOICEon 21 May 2012
There are echoes of Eno's 1974 "Here Come The Warm Jets" here, his first post-Roxy Music album of deranged pop songs.

These are deranged pop songs, worth getting to know. They're not easy-listening. It's held together by Annie Clark's singing and playing (great production) and is very 2012. Her expressive guitar and effects come to the fore now and again, but are often embedded in the texture of the song adding to the tapestry.

Not easy listening, then, but when it begins to click after a few takes it's surprisingly great!
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on 24 July 2014
This is my second St. Vincent album I have bought, I first bought "St. Vincent" the album which I would give 5 stars to, as I loved every track on it. This album "Strange Mercy" takes a bit of getting used to, as I recognize the first few tracks and "year of the tiger" but find some of the other album tracks a bit hard to get used to, but I'll give it time. I'm looking forward to seeing St Vincent in Gateshead this August, if you can't catch her get thes 2albums :-)
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on 19 June 2013
Bought this, kind of on a whim, looking for something different...glad that I did. I know that I will totally hammer this as it is a instantly likeable, intriguing, mad, heavy, beautiful and unique album. I checked it out because of the, (admittedly), slim connection to Grizzly Bear. It didn't let me down.
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on 26 May 2013
In my opinion a more confident and more assertive tone to this offering than her previous albums but still with that unique ethereal sound that is St Vincent's trademark. Often understated, these tracks will haunt you long after listening - well worth the investment!
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