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

2021-01-18
Asia Minor Third Album on the Way – On January 29, AMS records will be releasing the long-awaited third album by classic Turkish-French band Asia Minor. Released last year in Japan, this will be the widespread debut of Points of Libration. The album features original members Setrak Bakirel (vocals, guitar) and Eril Tekeli (flute, guitar). » Read more

2020-12-09
Harold Budd RIP – Harold Budd, one of pre-eminent American composers of avant-garde and minimalism, has died of complications from the coronavirus. Budd came to prominence in the 70s, championed by Brian Eno on his Obscure Records label, with music that blended academic minimalism with electric jazz and electronic music. Much of Budd's best known work was done in collaboration with other artists, including Eno, Daniel Lanois, Robin Guthrie, Andy Partridge, John Foxx, Jah Wobble, and many others. » Read more

2020-11-20
25 Views of Worthing Finally Gets Released – A while ago, we wrote about the discovery of a "long lost" Canterbury-style gem by a band called 25 Views of Worthing. And now we're pleased to find out that Wind Waker Records has released their music on an LP. » Read more

2020-10-14
Audion Is Back in Business – Our esteemed colleague Alan Freeman has restarted Audion Magazine after a seven year hiatus. The new incarnation is available online on their Bandcamp site. Audion's history goes back to 1984, and included 58 issues up to 2013. Issue #59 is available now, and #60 is in the works. » Read more

2020-10-06
Romantic Warriors IV – Krautrock (Part 2) Is in the Works – Zeitgeist Media, the people who have brought us the great series of documentary films chronicling the history of progressive rock, are working on the second installment of their examination of German music. Krautrock 2 will focus on artists from Münich such as Guru Guru, Amon Düül II, Xhol Caravan, Kraan, Witthüser & Westrupp, and Popol Vuh. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Värttinä - Iki – After three albums (Kokko, Vihma, and Ilmatar) that featured electronics heavily, including keyboards, samplers, and rhythm loops, Värttinä has elected to revisit a completely acoustic sound. Fans...  (2003) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues