St. Vincent's new LP pushes boundaries
St. Vincent has long been known for her eccentric pop sensibilities and characteristically untamed hair. She breaks rules that previous pop musicians have set and unravels a new sound that not many have heard before.
Annie Clark, who goes by St. Vincent, officially released her self-titled album on Tuesday, and it has already caused a commotion.
St. Vincent previewed on NPR on Feb. 17. After I listened to the beats and chords bounce off the walls of my eardrums, the theme of this album was clear: rebellion. Clark’s calming voice, robust guitar technique and repetitive harmonic upbeats create a cohesiveness between rock and pop; this album is the core of her work.
_St. Vincent _isn’t Clark’s first time showing her rebellious side. After attending the Berklee College of Music for three years, she dropped out in hopes of pursuing her music career without all of the boundaries of traditional music education.
The artist said in a press release that she “wanted to make a party record you could play at a funeral.”
The album was produced with John Congleton, who also produced for The Mountain Goats and Modest Mouse. Clark and Congleton have worked together in the past and have proven to be a compatible artist-producer duo.
The songs in St. Vincent often begin with a hollow ambiance. As the songs progress, the sound becomes more dense and more fulfilling. For example, “Birth In Reverse,” one of the first songs of the album, begins with distressed guitar chords and bass marking each beat; these are then layered with Clark’s smooth vocals. As the melodies unfold, so does the excitement and rush of the tune as she echoes the guitar chorus. Clark handles both guitar and vocals and exhibits her varied skills in this song. “Birth In Reverse“ serves as a perfect snapshot of the album in its entirety.
As Clark artfully uses her guitar skills throughout the album, it’s evident that she’s an educated musician. Her jazz training from Berklee influences every note she creates, while her refusal to conform to the norm challenges the traditions of her education.
St. Vincent is a prime album for any pop music aficionado. Clark combines hard guitars, ominous chords and silky vocals to create a heavy, strangely unique album worthy of four stars.