Annie Clark is back in Seattle this week, this time in support of her latest, Strange Mercy, an album she wrote here by herself in 2010. The album continues in the trajectory we’d already seen her headed in with 2009’s brilliant Actor. St. Vincent’s latest continues to push the boundaries of pop– the tunes are mostly pop songs that employ mostly accessible vocals with references to John Barry, Éric Rohmer, Marilyn Monroe, and anything that has struck her fancy over the last two years. The album finds her in a darker, sometimes nastier place– “Chloe in the Afternoon” contains some dark S&M-like imagery among the layers and layers of music and guitar noise. Any fan of Actor will see a continuation here even in the lead single, the lovely, busy, and sometimes challenging “Surgeon.”
St. Vincent, for all her pixieish beauty and fashion-forwardness is a stupendous song-writer– one that absolutely shreds. Her current tour has left audiences around the United States positively scorched– let her do the same to you this week.