St Vincent / Strange Mercy
Acid pop has rarely sounded as intelligent as it does on the new St Vincent album, according to Cindy Suzuki...
* * * *
We're used to A-grade psychedelic pop from Annie Clark, but the Dallas-based lady behind St. Vincent has created a maddeningly enjoyable Rubick's Cube of melody for her third album.
It's tricky not to giggle at the audio-mischief on display during 'Cruel', in which Clark nods towards the innocence of 'Over The Rainbow' while unzipping a funky electric guitar riff and shifting the vocals in an LSD direction. 'Cheerleader' poses a challenge to Goldfrapp in terms of minor key art-pop, while burnt out guitars drag us into a super-extended climax on 'Northern Lights' - and let's face it, we all want a super-extended climax. Ahem.
Clark has been called quirky in the past, but that word implies something irritating: St.Vincent's music is just original in a landscape that's forgotten the meaning of the word. Not all the compositions here are emotionally stimulating as well as exhilaratingly intelligent - they're usually one or the other - but this is certainly a trip worth taking.