Friday, 23 September 2011

St Vincent - Strange Mercy

St. Vincent, the nom-de-stage of Annie Clark, released her third album Strange Mercy. Having worked together on 2009's Actor, Clark reunited with producer John Congleton, recording the album in her hometown of Dallas, TX at Elmwood Studios. The 11 new tracks showcase Clark's inimitable gift for melody, packing elegant arrangements with hefty emotional punches.

Clark's virtuosity has long been recognised, and Strange Mercy finds her redefining the idea of the guitar hero, utilizing the instrument as a pointillist artist might wield a brush. On 'Cruel' she elicits punchy bursts like an R&B horn section. 'Cheerleader' froths and boils, with deep and fuzzy guitars bubbling up to the surface, while 'Surgeon' twirls about endlessly, Clark's vocals dancing amid a blizzard of notes.

Strange Mercy isn't an entirely solitary affair either, with Clark joined by a host of other musicians. Included among them are Beck keyboardist and musical director Brian LeBarton, Grammy Award winning musician Bobby Sparks on mini Moog, clavinet, Arp and Wurlitzer, Midlake's MacKenzie Smith on drums, Daniel Hart on violin, Evan Smith on woodwinds and Phil Palazzolo.

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