Top positive review
18 people found this helpful
The Best Kind Of Strange
on 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.