St. Vincent: Strange Mercy

American singer Annie Clark alias St. Vincent brought out her third record Strange Mercy. She changed from the style of the second album Actor with symphonic parts to a more synthesizer lasting rock with blustering bass- and guitar-parts by herself. She names her influences Jethro Tull and Frank Zappa. As she went to a party when she was twelve and everyone brought some vinyl she didn’t play Ace Of Base, she played Aqualung from Jethro Tull. And as she grew up in a musical family the condition were good to born a new rock star. By the way St. Vincent is the hospital in which Dylan Thomas died.

The album starts with some strange synthies, a heavenlike voice of Annie Clarke and some catchy guitarriffs. The refrain is a blurping organ and Annie shouting the title of the song. Chloe In The Afternoon is a catchy and memorable opener for a hopefully great album. Cruel has also a very catchy guitartune that instantly get stuck in the head and a very nice ‘sing-along’-part. After two faster and fancy tracks Cheerleader starts calm but turns out in a synthesizer firework. She perfectly finds the balance between freaky synth and serious vocalparts. Surgeon, the fourth track should be the highlight of the record as I heard from several voices but I am a bit sobered by this track, the synths and vocals just did not hit me enough on this song though the part from 3:40 until the end was freaking awesome and really disturbing. One of the best moments on the record for sure. Northern Lights is more in the rock style with strong riffing and for the first time not constant synth but used at the right parts and so also this song is succesfull. The title track on Strange Mercy as well as Neutered Fruits are again slower and with well considered effects. They’re nice not the best songs on Strange Mercy though. A nice bridge was Champagne Year, nice and calm. Dilletante has a great groove and again nice synths, guitars and effects though not the best vocals on the album. Though Hysterical Strength and Year Of The Tiger are two more highlights of the album. The pace was put down to calm the listener with smooth and groovy synth parts and perfectly finished a strong new record of St. Vincent.

There were highlights and awesome fresh new ideas on Strange Mercy though not every track impressed me. But the sum of good songs outweighed the bad ones. But I sensed that the first half was a bit better than the second though to the end there were again two great songs. It is definitely one of the better releases in the last few months. Annie Clark for the win.

  • 8.4/10

(Get Strange Mercy here)

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