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St. Vincent – Actor

4AD

St. Vincent has a ball with some good old-fashioned duality.

Annie Clark’s ability to simultaneously play beauty and beast on Actor her sophomore release as St. Vincent is what ultimately distinguishes the album. Though ostensibly the singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist operates in the world of orchestral pop filling her work with sweet melodies that wouldn’t sound out of place on Broadway underneath the pretty ornamentation lurks a demon eager to throw in unconventional left turns and noisy guitar freak-outs.

This dual nature is also in full display in the album’s lyrics. Dark imagery prevails throughout creating a welcome juxtaposition with Clark’s smooth voice and the lush arrangements. Listeners will be pleasantly humming “The Strangers” long before they realize that the irresistible melody is imploring them to “paint the black hole blacker.”

On Actor Clark fully realizes the dissonance at the core of her music firmly establishing herself in the process as a compelling songwriter whose work is as gorgeous as it is subversive.

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