A Review of St. Vincent's album "Strange Mercy"... - OurVinyl

St. Vincent’s LP ‘Strange Mercy’

Album Reviews

Annie Clark got her start at the age of 12 years old when she first started playing the guitar. As a teenager she managed her uncle’s band Tuck and Patti in Dallas, Texas. She later attended Berklee for three years then dropped out. She says in retrospect that: “I think that with music school and art school, or school in any form, there has to be some system of grading and measurement. The things they can teach you are quantifiable. While all that is good and has its place, at some point you have to learn all you can and then forget everything that you learned in order to actually start making music.”

A composer and performing artist currently living in Brooklyn, NY, Annie Clark, known as St. Vincent, is in a genre which should be all her own, however let’s say Indie/ alternative/ concrete/ Zouk . She is quirky, obscure and wonderful. Her albums include Marry Me (2007), Actor (2009), and Strange Mercy (Sept 13, 2011). All songs were written and composed by Annie Clark, except track 11 (written by Annie Clark and Sharon Clark) Strange Mercy has already received critical acclaim. On the review aggregate site “Metacritic”, the album has a score of 86 out of 100, signifying “Universal Acclaim.”

Strange Mercy is a fascinating album mixed in emotions that are as obscure as they are authentic. She is complex in her femininity, so powerful is her voice; her skills are so amazingly intertwined it’s almost difficult to wrap your own mind around this album. Superb in her ability to fascinate the listener, St. Vincent’s openness and ability to balance her experimentation in dimension has come through quite clearly!

“Chloe in the Afternoon” is a fanciful, garage grunge tune, similar to Blue Man Group’s percussion of pounding on garbage cans and plastic buckets and Tiesto’s electric mixes drawn in by St. Vincent’s robust yet feminine voice, the instrumentation is complex and shifting; at times it sounds like she is singing through the living room fan. This song is just as simple and multifaceted as she is.

“Northern Lights” is something you’d maybe expect to hear on the hit series Grey’s Anatomy. It has a Roisin Murphy’s “Ruby Blue” feel. Still entirely of St Vincent’s own electric sound, if I had to compare it to anything, this is the first thing that comes to my mind. It is an upbeat fun song; the screeching vinyl sound may not be for everyone however it is unquestionably for the techno dance floor.

“Year of the Tiger” starts with a Native American beat, which is funny since you’d think that because of title there would be an Asian flare to this song. Not so, but not disappointing in the least! This song has an anthem feel to it. The metal element gives “Year of the Tiger” its sharpness in action and speed of thought. Everyone needs a boost from time to time. It is precisely these boosts that give us the inspiration we need to get through a bad day. A Tiger indeed, and she clearly has a knack for taking risk, St. Vincent sounds very similar to Dido’s “Here With Me” in this song because of the soft, sensual complexity of her voice.

Seriously able to deliver an exceptional uniqueness all her own in every song; St. Vincent’s musical talents and ability to thrill and confuse you all at once is an amazingly exclusive experience ALL IT’S OWN.

Written by Kayt Westerlund