Rhythm & Views

St. Vincent

Annie Clark, who has played guitar for Sufjan Stevens and the Polyphonic Spree, is St. Vincent. She's also a jazz chanteuse, a pop diva, a producer extraordinaire and a talented multi-instrumentalist--in short, a powerhouse of musical capability.

"While Jesus is saving, I'm spending all my days in backgrounds and landscapes with the languages of saints," sings Clark on "Jesus Saves, I Spend." Her voice holds the s on Jesus, and on "landscapes," something happens to the second a, and if you're not in love, you will be once the chorus hits, and the weird chipmunk voice comes in.

Not only can Clark write the kind of artistically complex and gorgeously weird songs that make description by genre impossible; she can sing. On "Now, Now," she could be Annie Lennox, but the chimes on "Your Lips Are Red" hearken a change, and Clark's breathy voice slips to a darker side. When she sings "I'll be so good to you" on the title track, the sexiness becomes much friendlier, and against the piano and acoustic guitar of "All My Stars Aligned," Clark sounds like a French film star. On "Landmines," she goes from a small whisper to an all-out wail in a matter of seconds. Most remarkable is her Billie Holiday jazz slide on "What Me Worry?"

Actually, every song on Marry Me is remarkable--subtle textures and Clark's incredibly elastic voice wrap you in sounds and sensations that resonate long after the album's over.