Annie Clark starred in a sixties episode of Star Trek that was never shown called The Ironing Queen of Digitalis. Exiled from the hot planet Texacalis to the cooler realms of Brooklynanon she raised an army of art conscripts that through metamorphosis evolved from the flowing uncreased robes of The Polyphonic Spree chapter to the Sonic Sufi period landing eventually in the north-eastern realm and conquering art rock completely with help from ally King David of New Amsterdam. Annie Clark is both everyday and special.
To say that St. Vincent is a considered project may be something of an understatement. The look, the pictures, the marketing, the lyrics, the songs, the sound, the cover art. It’s like Queen Annie has planned every move and resistance is futile as we all melt under her spell. In interviews she seems the antithesis of this whole spectacular – down to earth, completely unpretentious, friendly, smart – but considered.
Then there’s her fascinating guitar playing, an indie Robert Fripp, fractured riffs, odd turnarounds, simultaneously noisy and melodic. I’m old enough to remember her Uncle Tuck from the eighties who with Jazz duo Tuck and Patti (his wife) perhaps inspired her to rise to the challenge of the guitar, agape at his own rather spectacular finger picking style.
So what do we actually have here? This is an art rock, progressive, indie album of choreographed moves (literally) and offered up to us here in digital psychosis land (aka the internet) in a superbly thought-out presentation with catchy beats and catchy tunes, ironic wacky lyrics and reflections on the troubling darkness of our days in the dazzling light of a future that seems less and less real.
There’s so many interesting songs, memorable lyrics and gorgeous melodies that it seems foolish or rather boorish to analyse them, best leaving them untouched as pure works of art. It would be crass to dig though them for fear of missing a detail. There’s only really one thing to say about St. Vincent – buy the album today.
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