Exposé Online banner

St Vincent — Actor
(4AD CAD 2919CD, 2009, CD)

by Paul Hightower, Published 2010-07-01

Actor Cover art

Imagine if Enya and Adrian Belew had produced offspring. Annie Clark (St. Vincent is essentially Clark plus guest musicians) has the former’s angelic voice and mesmerizing vocal arrangements, plus the latter’s potent guitar chops and knack for playful and tuneful songwriting. The followup to 2007’s Marry Me has all of the debut’s charms and more, with even more inventive and creative arranging and orchestration plus solid songwriting from top to bottom. Clark’s modus operandi consists of screening favorite movies, including “The Wizard of Oz,” “Stardust Memories,” and “Sleeping Beauty,” and then writing what she calls “secret film scores.” But everything is still song-oriented, with verses, choruses, and a pop-savvy attention to melody and lyrical phrasing. But the secret sauce to Clark’s songs is that while they sport a beautiful and alluring décor, a dark undercurrent runs through the lyrics (something Steely Dan is famous for). “The Strangers,” for example, includes the refrain “Paint the black hole blacker” that seems at odds with the almost Disney-esque sweetness of the vocal and backing. Standout tracks include “Actor out of Work” with its spunky garage band charm, and “Marrow” that sounds like the perky cousin of Porcupine Tree’s “Gravity Eyelids.” Actor is a winner on all counts, with tunes that get lodged in your mind that you won’t be able to shake for days. Don’t be put off by labels like indie-pop that get applied to Clark’s music. It’s so much more than that.


Filed under: New releases, Issue 38, 2009 releases

Related artist(s): St Vincent

Latest news

2018-11-16
The Seventeenth Dream of Dr Sardonicus Festival Tickets Now Available – Fruits de Mer Records and their merry crew of psychedelic explorers are getting set to present the next The Seventeenth Dream of Dr. Sardonicus Festival. The dates are set for August 2-4, 2019 at The Cellar Bar in Cardigan, Wales. They've also announced that the legendary Groundhogs will top the bill. » Read more

2018-11-02
Charles O'Meara (C.W. Vrtacek) RIP – A true musical original has left us. Charles O'Meara, who recorded under the name C.W. Vrtacek, was a wild-card musical talent, ranging from complex progressive rock to introspective modern compositions, with stops at many places inbetween. » Read more

2018-10-17
Eurock Documentary Seeks Funding – We've been fans and fellow travelers with Archie Patterson and his Eurock project on the journey to discover great music. After many years of promoting and trying to spread the word,a new phase is beginning: a documentary film. Things like this don't just happen, and money does not magically appear to make it happen, so it's up to the fans to get it done. » Read more

2018-09-29
Marty Balin RIP – One of the architects of the 60s psychedelic sound of San Francisco has died at the age of 76. Marty Balin was a singer, songwriter, and guitarist who was one of the founders of Jefferson Airplane. After the split of the original Airplane, Balin went on to form the highly successful Jefferson Starship. » Read more

2018-09-25
Help the Psychic Equalizer Avoid Extinction – Last year we reviewed the debut album by Psychic Equalizer, a musical project of Hugo Selles. He's now working on the ambitious follow-up to that release, and is seeking funding from listeners around the world. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Eroc - Eroc 1, 2 & 3 – After 30 years Eroc’s solo albums are now available on CD and finally finding their way to the US in 2007. Eroc remastered them from the original tapes, added bonus material, and included liner...  (2008) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues