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Strange Mercy

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Editors’ Notes

After two previous releases, St. Vincent (a.k.a. Annie Clark) finds a way to channel her avant-garde instincts in more accessible directions, displaying a firm grasp on pop songwriting forms even as she subverts them. In tandem with producer John Congleton, she plays nervous industrial beats and quivering keyboards against billowing ‘60s-ish melodies. Her cooing vocals on “Cruel” and “Surgeon” insinuate dark scenarios of betrayal and abandonment, transcending mere irony into something palpably sinister. More direct in their intentions are “Cheerleader” (an anthem of personal liberation) and “Champagne Year” (a jaundiced look at success). If Clark’s lyrics tease and dazzle, her music hits hard sonically, clattering to a galloping groove on “Hysterical Strength” and erupting into guitar-fueled cacophony on “Northern Lights.” The otherworldly grandeur of Kate Bush or Björk is recalled on tracks like “Chloe In the Afternoon.” But St. Vincent is in a class all her own as she exorcises sexual demons, grapples with psychic breakdown, and achieves an uncanny catharsis.

Customer Reviews

St Vincent

First tUnE-yArDs with whokill, then Bon Iver with Bon Iver. You couldn't think 4AD music could get better.

But it did. A haunting masterpiece and one of the best albums of the year

Biography

Born: 28 September 1982 in Dallas, TX

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

St. Vincent became one of the unexpected success stories of indie rock with the release of her second album, Actor, in 2009; the literate, emotionally intricate songs and rich, beautifully crafted pop melodies made her an immediate hit with critics, but few expected her music to cross over to mainstream acceptance. However, St. Vincent's beguiling sounds helped Actor rise to number 90 on the Billboard Top 200...
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