Favorite

St. Vincent: Actor (4AD) 

St. Vincent's hypnotic sophomore album, Actor, ends peculiarly. Penultimate track "Just the Same but Brand New" builds from light guitar chimes and Annie Clark's breathy vocals into a storm of zigzag guitars and distorted drum crashes before exiting in a din of wheezy electronics; in other words, it's the end credits. Yet "The Sequel" officially closes the album with humming woodwinds and warm atmospherics. The track is a winking coda, and a prime example of the cleverness that makes Actor a rewarding listen.

Still, Actor isn't flawless. Clark maintains a limited vocal range, transitioning from breathy to lilting, which may disengage some listeners. Unfortunately, such listeners may miss Clark's sharp, dark lyrics, as they are casually sung. Nevertheless, Clark's computer-written scores—much of the backing music was reportedly composed on GarageBand after or during viewings of her favorite films—add an interesting layer (and subtext) to each track. Opener "The Strangers" builds over haunted choral moans; "Marrow" steadies itself on seasick electronics, while "Laughing With a Mouth of Blood" is constructed around fluttery strings.

Actor is uniquely modern; noticeably heard are its combined influences of the genteel folk of Fairport Convention, the aural destructiveness of Sonic Youth, and the operatic gloss of movie scores (Disney in particular). That same modernity meshes the handsome and the grotesque in "The Bed," where Clark's calm vibrato sings, "Don't move / Don't scream / Or we will have to shoot" over colliding symphonic arrangements.

In other words: thumbs up.

More by Michael Petitti

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

The Range

After Orlando: An International Theatre Action

Fifth Annual Rock Lottery with The Flycatcher

More »

Latest in Rhythm & Views

  • Rhythm & Views

    American Monoxide “In Flight Mode” (People In A Position To Know)
    • Dec 18, 2014
  • Rhythm & Views

    Wight Lhite “Beyond the Satellites” (Paisley Shirt Records)
    • Dec 11, 2014
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • Vintage Vinyl Tucson

    This week: The Spiders 'Don’t Blow Your Mind' b/w 'No Price Tag'
    • Nov 24, 2016
  • Court and Spark

    This Tucson singer-songwriter, who moonlights as a jailhouse psychotherapist, overcame career-killing circumstances
    • Dec 1, 2016
  • More »

Facebook Activity

© 2016 Tucson Weekly | 7225 Mona Lisa Rd. Ste. 125, Tucson AZ 85741 | (520) 797-4384 | Powered by Foundation