What’s already being dubbed as one of the albums of 2014, it’s safe to say the excitement surrounding St. Vincent’s fourth album is very high. After releasing an impressive debut single in the form of ‘Digital Witness’ there has only been good words said about the female singer/songwriter but does the final product truly live up to all the hype?
The album starts with the dubby tones of ‘Rattlesnake’ with its fuzzy electronics, dominant vocal and layer upon layer of sound. Though it may sound slightly chaotic with so many sounds there is a very obvious and great beat running throughout and somehow it all comes together to produce Annie Clark’s own very interesting take on indie pop sounds for 2014.
Clark’s voice has a wonderful sing song affliction whilst maintaining a darker edge that could quite easily turn affecting the whole mood of the track. That change is found on tracks such as ‘Prince Johnny’ where the drawn out sultry vocal adds to big atmosphere created by ambient sounds, electronic beats, bass notes and short riffs. It’s a slow track that tells a story through its vocals and the flowing music it sits on and the graduating swirling vocal in the choruses are a particular highlight.
’Huey Newton’ sees soft vocals of the verses change to a commanding voice full of hate and disgust that plays us out. In between and weaved throughout is synth notes, a steady beat and graduating 80’s synth before a huge dirty electronic riff takes this track from subdued to huge. While on single ‘Digital Witness’ the trumpets and hip hop style beat trudge along with the spoken rhythm of the vocals creating one of the most interesting and utterly wonderful singles of 2014.
Though a lot of the tracks here are slightly chaotic they usually seem to work though it’s ‘Bring Me Your Loves’ that lets proceedings down. The squiffy electronics, marching band style drum and quick almost incomprehensible vocals make this a little too all over the place and it doesn’t really work.
‘Psychopath’ follows and though a very simple track, consisting of constant layered beats that fluctuate in sound and tempo backing up the vocals, it is a refreshing change from the chaos that came before. Closing proceedings with the mellow sounds of ‘Severed Cross Fingers’ and its deep bass chords, guitar that ebbs and flows and padding drums. The vocals are soft and in full storytelling mode and tinged with emotion. The backing vocals add a slightly bigger sound to this but ultimately it remains a tame but great indie track.
There is no denying this is a good release, there are some moments that I don’t particularly enjoy as much as others but whether they will grow on me over time is a different matter. Could this be one of the albums of 2014? Well most probably it could be, it’s not the best thing I’ve ever heard but at the same time it’s not the worst. But it’s only February and to pronounce it as an album of the year would be extremely premature. Ask me again in December because my stance will no doubt have changed.
Check out the video for the single ‘Digital Witness’ below: