As far as female musicians are concerned, Annie Clark is a stand out in her own right. In person, Clark is petite and fair-skinned with
wild raven curls; in conversation, she is thoughtful, quick-witted, and clearly intelligent. Performing under the moniker St. Vincent, Clark has released three albums, each increasingly perfecting her now-trademark dichotomy of melodic vocals and abrasive guitars.
Her third album, Strange Mercy, is perhaps her best effort yet. Wrought with chilling sexuality, Clark’s poignant lyrics read like the memoirs of a particularly charming provocateur. The album unfolds with each listen; never quite finished highlighting the intricacies that will keep the listener engaged well after Strange Mercy has finished its rotation.
While Mercy shares remnants of her sophomore album, Actor, the departure from debut Marry Me is much clearer: Clark’s evolution in composition and atmosphere has provided a more interesting and intelligent sound.
On each of her albums, Clark’s vocals sound refined, polished, and almost delicate, yet when observed live, St. Vincent proves to be an entirely different animal. With her thrashing guitar work and perfectly executed expletives, Clark is effortlessly charming while exhibiting an undeniable ‘cool’.
Her live cover of The Pop Group’s 1979 hit “She Is Beyond Good and Evil” is a testament to her music knowledge and the genius of her creative revisions, as well as possibly her most entertaining performance of any song played. She brings forth an unsuspecting energy so raw and rich that one wonders why Clark skips the grit altogether on her studio albums.
Enjoy St. Vincent performing Strange Mercy’s “Surgeon” while I dream of the day she will release a live concert EP.