This week I have been mostly listening to the new St Vincent album, Actor. I originally tripped up over her first album Marry Me on emusic, having seen it reviewed on Pitchfork. Marry me was stuffed full of lengthy, wordy songs with her clear and crisp vocals matched with equally clear and crisp guitar and light orchestration which made it at times feel like some kind of Broadway musical. If anything frustrated me it was a slight lack of edge, but I still loved what was there.
Then, smack out came her new album Actor preceded by the single Actor Out Of Work, which hinted at but didn’t reveal the fine balance that the Actor would tread.
For St Vincent it’s indecently loud, with NOISE everywhere, little wonder the others in the music video are crying. There’s also distortion everywhere, and it’s distortion that this album really specialises in. [1. At times, having just installed a new sound card, I was getting concerned my drivers were installed wrongly and malfunctioning.] One track that’s really come to be my favourite is Marrow, where the noise and distortion is combined with horns to create a fascinating funky backing to the kind of pitying lyrics that I’m more used to hearing from male vocalists. [2. maybe because I listen to more of them]
In a rare move, critical judgement of this album is similarly positive elsewhere though I am perplexed by an NME review that seems little more than a list of name checks.