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St. Vincent

St. Vincent (Loma Vista / Republic)

Reviewed by Abby Johnston, Fri., March 14, 2014

SXSW 2014 Records

St. Vincent

(Loma Vista/Republic)

"Oh, what an ordinary day/Take out the garbage, masturbate," muses Annie Clark against a glam-rock guitar lick on early single "Birth in Reverse." Fact is, nothing's ordinary about St. Vincent, nom de rock of the Dallas-reared multi-instramentalist. She's forged a career of salting over what otherwise would be pop with an ass-kick of reverb, macabre lyricism, and odd instrumental flourishes that knock her music just left enough of center. Her self-titled fifth LP reconciles oddities with hit-making sensibility, scaling back orchestral excess and letting her danceable, sinister songwriting shine with incredible precision. The digitally glossed bass of "Rattlesnake" bounces St. Vincent to life, biting off one of the album's many metal-worthy guitar shreds disguised by pedal distortion. The horn arsenal of "Digital Witness" recalls her magic collaboration with David Byrne in 2012 while brightly dissenting from constant social media broadcasting. Ghostly "Prince Johnny" briefly sedates the high-energy bump of the LP, allowing focus on Clark's lyric imagery: "Remember the time we went and snorted/That piece of the Berlin wall that you'd extorted/And we had such a laugh of it/Prostrate on my carpet." Clark's exacting sensibility makes every song a new experience, finally birthing an album where every shot hits its mark. (11pm, Stubb's)

****

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