St. Vincent - Actor

Picture Emiliana Torrini getting together with Modest Mouse and then throw in a lot of fuzzy bass and the occasional abrasive guitar and you start to get what St. Vincent`s new album `Actor` sounds like. Annie Clark`s (formerly of The Polyphonic Spree and Sufjan Stevens) follow-up to 2007`s `Marry Me` was co-produced by Clark and John Congleton (Modest Mouse, The Thermals, Polyphonic Spree). Annie Clark wrote and arranged Actor`s 11 songs and sings, plays guitar, bass, and keys. She also has help form the likes of Hideaki Aomori (Sufjan Stevens), Alex Sopp (Björk, Philip Glass), and an improved rhythm section that includes Midlake`s McKenzie Smith and Paul Alexander. Did I mention she also has a full orchestra too?

The album opener `The Strangers` sums up a lot of the album with its mix of old timey feel, classical arrangements and random distortion, a nice mix of old and new styles. "Actor Out Of Work` has a Lo-fi vibe going on while `Morrow` has an almost Bowie-esque feel to it (very much like a female ` The Hearts Filthy Lesson`). `Laughing With A Mouthful Of Blood` has a much happier to feel to it than the title implies while `The Party` and `The Bed` sound warm, fuzzy and almost cinematic and would be great to play on rainy days while you think fondly about days gone by.

Annie Clark has some serious talent (and has been garnering a lot of buzz lately) and if you didn`t notice it with her last album, you sure as hell will stand up and notice now. If Clark has grown this much since her last album, I can`t wait to hear what she does next. With her impressive ability and refusal to stick to any one genre, St. Vincent is truly a band to watch.

8 out of 10

Here is a video of St. Vincent on Letterman performing 'Marrow' .

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