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on 24 February 2014
I'm preparing myself for some criticism on this one, as St. Vincent appears to have finally achieved critics darling status in the papers. The Guardian, for example, has given the album a 5* review and lauded it saying:

'it feels remarkably sure-footed, the sound of an artist who, when not taking out the garbage or masturbating, has worked out exactly what she wants to do, and furthermore exactly how to do it.'

Well, whether or not that's true (and I'm not sure it is), this is a disappointing effort.

With 'Strange Mercy', St. Vincent had evolved her sound from her first two, instrument rich, albums going for a sparser, electronic based sound, with fluid fuzz guitar lines and clever use of synthesiser bass. The resulting album was a brilliant collection of songs, which really showed what an artist she is.

This self-titled album is a continuation of that sound, but where as 'Strange Mercy' contained angular melodies/rhythms and a quite cold (in a positive way) production, this album has gone firmly for a more pop orientated sound. Making the sound more commercial isn't, in itself, a problem, but I do wonder if the songs benefit from it. More troublesome is the strength of the material.

I count 5 songs here that I'd say are good - those being 'Rattlesnake, 'Birth in Reverse', 'Prince Johnny', 'Digital Witness' and Regret'. The rest are pretty forgettable in my opinion - 'I prefer your love' sounds like something Sinead O'Connor would sing (not a compliment), and a lot of the more ballad-styled material is just too plain and lacking in the inventiveness that I've come to expect from Annie Clark. The Guardian describes some of this stuff as sounding like Madonna. As if that's a good thing - the dolts.

Additionally, out of the 5 songs listed above, I don't think any really hit the height of the best material from either 'Strange Mercy' or 'Actor'. If you're expecting another 'Marrow' or even a 'Cruel' you won't find it here. Digital Witness, as a lead single, has grown on me, but it's definitely a throwback to her collaboration with David Byrne on 'Love This Giant' (itself being a mixed effort), and isn't particularly stand-out.

St. Vincent can do better, has done better and will do better. In my opinion she's the best artist working today. She's received the push she deserved, but an album too late. Typical record companies/press!

PS: I'm not some sort of hipster idiot who's annoyed she's getting some mainstream attention - I'm a very big fan of St. Vincent and wish her all the success in the world.
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VINE VOICETOP 50 REVIEWERon 24 February 2014
4.5 Stars

Try to write a review of the music of St Vincent aka Annie Clark without using the words strange, quirky, eccentric or experimental. Not an easy task since Clark has been a proud pusher of boundaries since the release of her solo debut album "Marry Me" in 2007. She has also in that time struck up a useful partnership with the "Head" Talking Head David Byrne and if 2012's joint effort "Love this Giant" was quite what it promised then Clarks self titled fourth album sets the record straight.

St Vincent is the complete album that Ms Clark has been promising the over the past seven years. There have been occasions in her previous work that it has been a little to clever with songs that sound that they need more work or a slight injection of melody. It is pleasing to report therefore that she has shown more restraint here yet at the same time produced an album that could only be an St Vincent production. The ingenuity of her arrangements remains but somehow more shape and order is present. The powerhouse funky opener "Rattlesnakes" has a staccato synth line and breathy vocals by Clark and is an ecstatic start. The angular "Birth in reverse" is not one of the stronger tracks here but the track "Prince Johnny" that follows is a joy. It is almost a conventional ballad for Clark infused with brilliant lyrics not least the observation "Remember the time we went and snorted/A piece of the Berlin wall that you'd extorted/And we'd had such a laugh of it/Prostrate on my carpet". From here on the album gets better and better. "Huey Newton" starts like a slow trip hop song, only to introduce a nasty powered monster riff at around 3 minutes. The brassy single "Digital Witness" is a hybrid of Talking Heads meets Prince slice of funk accompanied with a brilliant video that updates Fritz Lang's classic silent film Metropolis. The next song "Regret" is like that very clever pop of the Dirty Projectors variety and a delight to the ears. The crunchy rock of "Psychopath" is hewn from the same cloth as "Rattlesnakes" whilst "Every Tear Disappears" is overshadowed by the albums standout and concluding track "Severed Crossed Fingers". On this Clark injects black humour into a Bowie like forlorn tale of love where she ruefully reflects, " Well you stole the heart right out my chest/Changed the words that I know best/Found myself with crossed fingers in the rubble there"

The great news about St Vincent is that this is by far her most accessible album to date. There has been nothing wrong with her inspired eclectic music to date, it is just that Annie Clark's fourth album finally completes the picture on the jigsaw box and nearly all the pieces fit perfectly.
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on 26 February 2014
Without doubt Annie Clark's best album to date! The more I play it the more I like it, For me every there isn't one standout track - they are all standout tracks!! The Guardian reviewer was absolutely spot on because he listened!!! Metacritic scores so far of 90 from 35 critics and 9.4 from 43 user ratings suggests others might agree with Alexis Petridis. The album is N0 3 at the moment in the US Amazon Best Seller music list. I say there isn't one standout track but I predict that Psychpath will be a firm concert favourite for years to come - its a classic!! Talking of St Vincent concerts - saw her 02 Shepherd's Bush last week - a briliant show. If you live near to Bristol, Glasgow or Leeds go see her - she'll be back in the UK in May. Excellent value for money at £18 a ticket!!!!
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on 17 October 2014
St Vincent is an artist that has been much adored by her fans for a considerable amount of time, with many accolades being bestowed upon her. This includes an endless list of publications naming her previous solo effort, Strange Mercy, album of year and a prestigious American Ingenuity Award last year. How exactly could she follow that and collaboration with David Byrne? In a way that only Annie Clark can.

The eccentricity that we have come to know and love is still prevalent on St Vincent, but everything is so tight and thoroughly thought out that it just feels right. You could safely call the album art rock, but there is no hint of pretention. Everything is laid out, yet still with a shroud of mystery about it all. Clark can very easily bounce from the vulnerable to the darker side of things, with an emphasis of love and self reflection in the 21st Century being foremost on this self-titled effort.

“I Prefer Your Love” is a late night jam that floats on an air of a forgotten dreamy r’n’b track, with a little hook that you’ll find has buried itself deep inside your brain. Consisting of only a few notes, the hook has such an understated impact. It’s these tender moments that really display to versatility that Ms. Clark has. For every wild, discordant solo that teeters on the side of disturbing there is a moment that you fall for the delicate release of emotion.

There are some tracks on the album that you can truly groove to such as “Bring Me Your Loves” with its sharp synth lines and shuffled beat. It’s a step in a slightly different direction. Before this album there were moments of high energy with chaotic flurry, but nothing like the dance-ability to this track has been achieved previous, with a somewhat funky tinge mixed with a more focused precision that has become of trademark of sorts for St Vincent.

Annie’s time working with David Byrne comes through quite strongly at times, with an uptight percussion that features quite often throughout the record and more obviously the refrain used in “Psychopath” that consists solely of “ahs”. Yet it doesn’t sound out of place, as it’s not just a tired attempt at imitation, as the qualities of her previous collaborations mesh well into the St Vincent aesthetic that it doesn’t necessarily scream out.

St Vincent isn’t slowing down in terms of creativity as she has built upon a solid foundation from previous releases with an ambitious abandon that is guided by confident step into a slightly unfamiliar. Five albums in and St Vincent still sounds as fresh as ever.

For more reviews like this, visit: http://www.drunkenwerewolf.com
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on 14 March 2014
To my own ignorance I've only discovered this artist within the last month and all I want to know is why has it taken me so long? Had I known she had more album releases prior to this I would have been a fan long ago, so bare in mind that this is my first album I've listened to from St. Vincent so I'm not going to comment on previous albums or compare them as I cannot judge.

Now onto the review and what you came here for, I found it to be a masterpiece and a beautiful symphony to my ears as I listened to this album far too much. It has this metaphorical fishing rod that reels you in and keeps you there for days. I took notions to listen to other artists in my library but this kept pulling me back into the world of St. Vincent. The title track, "Rattlesnake" is a brilliant collaboration between the genres of rock and indietronica, it has a powerful bassline, excellent vocals and a cracking guitar solo to boot. It's that type of song that keeps you in the album and makes you want more, and this album provides, let me tell you. As it moves onto "Birth in Reverse" you are treated to a brilliantly rhythmic and co-ordinated song that delivers on powerful bass and great guitar work. Then there is my personal favourite "Bring Me Your Loves", this song with head phones on, turning it up past eleven and allowing it to strike your eardrums giving you that "goosebumps on your arms feeling", bass and guitar solos with a great sense of lyricism makes this song my favourite as it ticks all the correct boxes for me. The next song I'll mention is "Severed Crossed Fingers". This song takes a slower paced approach, as opposed to the other songs I've mentioned, but it's just as good. Only song from the album I dislike is, "I Prefer Your Love"; it's not the worst song I've ever listened to, I just found it boring and non engaging.

As I've expressed I did not find much bad points in this album, otherwise I would not be rating it five stars, but again I re-iterate; I'm not an avid listener of St. Vincent as this is my first album I've listened to, so if you're more of a seasoned listener and you're contemplating buying this album, I can still recommend it, but you should look at some of the great reviews from better acquainted listeners of this artist. However if you're new like me, this is your excuse to click that "Add to basket" button.
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on 27 February 2014
St Vincent had somehow completely passed me by until I heard Digital Witness on Six Radio. I pre-ordered the album on the strength of that song and wasn't disappointed. Very varied collection of songs ranging from Prince style funk to (near) balladry but there isn't a duff track and there is a boundless energy throughout. Highly recommended.
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on 10 February 2015
I am hooked on Annie Clark and her strange songwriting. Also, on previous albums her guitar playing is equally impressive (check out 'Now Now' from her first album 'Marry Me' and 'Surgeon' from 2011's Strange Mercy album) although on this album it's not as prominent. I like the whole style of her songs, they are always intricate and come from a dystopian perspective. Undoubtedly she has learned a great deal from collaborator David Byrne, and probably from the recently returned Bowie, who surely must be one of her main inspirations. Left field song writing doesn't come any weirder!
I think that all her previous albums have had different styles to a certain extent, the first having more traditional songwriting forms, then the second getting a lot more production and diversity of sounds. She really came into her own with 'Strange Mercy', her third album, where many of the songs were anthemic, especially 'Cheerleader', 'Strange Mercies' itself, and 'Surgeon'...
Her vocals are always arresting, on this album she gives her best performance on 'Birth In Reverse', but she's fantastic on 'Digital Witness' and 'Every Tear Dissapears' as well. it's not just the main vocal mind you, she does a fantastic range of backing vocals too, sometimes reminiscent of the great Joni Mitchell on albums like Hissing Of Summer Lawns and Hejira, they are so unique and unusual.
The only reason I give this album four stars is that it's maybe just a little bit too dominated by keyboards and processed beats. I think her live band sound is so brilliant, and I think the songs sound better live! I hope she goes back to a more organic sound for future releases....
There isn't a better left-field singer songwriter in the world than Annie though, that's for sure. she wipes the floor with Madonna and the rest of those over-hyped supercommercial no-brainers.
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on 19 May 2014
Admittedly, I only found out about this Artist after watching her recent performance on the Jools Holland show, (2014), which was, erm.. interesting, to say the least. Undeterred, I looked her up on the web and discovered her music videos, which, if I'm honest, I found a bit disturbed... Haneke-esque, but Suess-ier. Nevertheless, I found myself the next day trying to recall the guitar riff from her song 'Birth in Reverse'. I decided to buy the download of the album, which was modestly priced at £4.99, and I can truly say have no regrets. I have enjoyed all the songs on this album and have found St. Vincent's Annie Clark to be much more than 'another Lady Gaga' as one Youtuber elegantly stated... She is in fact a very accomplished musician and although never overstated on this album, she shreds the guitar...!!
This isn't in my opinion a Masterpiece, though I believe she is more than capable of creating one. It's hard to put into words, but I feel this could be what music has been lacking in recent months, perhaps I have to get out more but It's good to see real talent prevail! If I have any criticisms, they would only be that the last track is not as strong as the others, but it's still great. I look forward to hearing more from this artist and I'm glad to know there were three albums prior to this one- all of which I will be listening to in the near future. Thanks!
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on 24 February 2014
St Vincent (Annie Clark), has said that her fourth album is self titled, because it is herself. This is almost as if, everything that she has released prior has been leading up to this self titled album. Now 2011's 'Strange Mercy' was an album that I loved but underplayed and I'm making sure I don't do the same with this, because this is brilliant.

Honestly, I feel that Clark's hair is a representation of the album sonically. It's purposefully asymmetric and disjointed, but is heralded as a piece of art; something to place on a pedestal and let the masses admire. The harsh opening guitar clinks on 'Birth in Reverse', the catchy fluid melody of 'Prince Johnny' and the wavy synth lines on 'Huey Newton' all could sit on show and have people saying 'Oh, why yes, just exquisite wouldn't you say so?'.

I'd say 'Regret' is the albums weak-point, but maybe because the other songs are so crushingly good. There's a hint of what Clark did with David Byrne but it's been put through her own filter, it's been turned into a new breed of majestic glory with golden moments like 'Bring Me Your Loves' and the 80's esque whistle synth line on 'Every Tear Disappears'.

'St Vincent' then, is seamless. It's seamless but is always juxtaposed by sharp juttering angles that should cut and maim, but they smooth over in luxury instead. On first listen I wasn't too keen, I just didn't see the brilliance; but now I do I can give it all the love that 'Strange Mercy' failed to receive from me. It's time I go and cherish this now, and I will.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 4 June 2014
I can't compare this album to previous works by the artist as I only came across St. Vincent recently while they performed on Jools Holland in the UK. The songs were great and really stood out on the show and the lead singer had a great stage presence and is obviously a great and charismatic performer.

I only got around to getting the album this week and think it's fantastic - it's rare you love nearly every song on an album upon the first listen when you haven't heard the artist before but I enjoyed it from start to finish and played it again straight away. I really like the vocal and it works perfectly on all the songs that range from sexy & quirky electronica to funky indie with some brilliant guitar and chunky bass, as well as a couple of slower tracks that work just as well. There is some really good songwriting on this album with interesting and quirky lyrics.

Digital Witness is probably my favorite track on the album at the moment - every person I've played it to has liked it and asked who it is.

If you're in doubt then watch some videos on Youtube - I will definitely be getting more albums from this artist in the future!
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