St. Vincent: Strange Mercy LP
St Vincent, the nom-de-stage of Annie Clark, releases her second album for 4AD, Strange Mercy. The record’s 11 tracks showcase Clark’s gift for fusing the cerebral and the visceral, her melodically elegant arrangements packing hefty emotional punches. Clark reunited with producer John Congleton and recorded the album in her hometown of Dallas, TX.
Strange Mercy finds St. Vincent redefining the idea of the guitar hero, utilizing the instrument as a pointillist artist might wield a brush. Countless judiciously placed riffs and instrumental flares, each distinct and unique, cohere into grand tableaus.
Other musicians on the album include the Grammy Award winning Bobby Sparks on mini Moog, clavinet, Arp and Wurlitzer, Midlake’s MacKenzie Smith on drums and Daniel Hart on violin. Also contributing were Beck keyboardist and musical director Brian LeBarton, Evan Smith on woodwinds and Phil Palazzolo.
"Strange Mercy, however, sees Clark in something of a tug-of-war. The orchestrations are noless ornate, but there’s less of an effort to disguise their synthetic nature. Yet rather than feel more programmed, the album seems slightly stripped down—an anxiously tentative attempt to peel back the surface."
--Todd Martens, TONE Audio, September 2, 2011