Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Album Review/Concert Preview: St. Vincent

It is hard to classify the music of 25-year-old Annie Clark, more commonly known as St. Vincent. Perhaps she describes it best on her Myspace page where, under Sounds Like, you will find "hand claps and wry smiles."

St. Vincent has brought colorful creativity to the indie scene, crafting songs with quirky instruments and lyrics that touch on a range of unusual topics, from Jesus to murder. After being a member of The Polyphonic Spree and Sufjan Stevens' touring band, she is finding growing success as a solo artist.

On her debut LP entitled Marry Me, St. Vincent offers 11 strong tracks, all of which showcase her charming soprano and signature inventive style. On upbeat tracks such as "Now Now" and "Your Lips Are Red," unexpected shifts of rhythm and pace make each song a musical adventure. She also has a unique way of blending the old with the new. While her music boasts with originality, there is a certain classic element to St. Vincent that shines through in every photograph and in every note she sings -- a timelessness in her music that can be heard on less polished tracks such as "All My Stars Aligned." It is especially evident on the album closer, "What Me Worry," where she sparkles with little accompaniment. Whether she is ripping electric guitar solos or serenading on the piano, St. Vincent is captivating listeners from L.A. to Paris.

While Marry Me stands out on its own merits, St. Vincent's strongest asset is her live show. Her songs take on a new life on stage where she often plays solo; she offers a truly dynamic performance, equipped with her electric guitar, keyboard, two different kinds of microphones and a mic'd up stomp pad.

After heavily touring in the past year, St. Vincent is now headlining all over the country. You can catch her at the Middle East Downstairs in Cambridge for just $12 on March 1st.

--Jessy Bartlett

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