My current celebrity lady crush, Annie Clark, is back with a new St. Vincent album titled Strange Mercy. I always understood St. Vincent to be a pixie-ish waif with a great voice and tender, graceful pop songs. That is until I saw her on Austin City Limits with her full band just tear the ass out of it – changing seemingly mellow numbers into guitar-infused rock. Live, her dainty songs were supercharged with energy and sprinkles of true “axe-work” handled competently by Annie herself.
Strange Mercy highlights some of her live strengths, making great use of charging beats and generous dabs of grinding guitar. The first two tracks, especially “Cruel,” capture the best of what St. Vincent has to offer. Cathartic lyrics housed in elegant and soaring pop and brought down to earth with the chunkiness of electric guitar.