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St. Vincent preview

| June 1, 2009 | 0 Comments

Metro, Chicago
Sunday, June 7, 2009

vincent_annabelmehran

The first time IE came across St. Vincent (Annie Clark), she was by herself opening for John Vanderslice. Armed with a guitar and laptop, she came across as if she could have been the twee-est possible member of the old Grand Royal Records, Luscious Jackson’s introverted-bordering-on-autistic stepsister.

In some ways the impression still fits with the flawless, cold rendering of her face on the album cover; that unshakeable set of pipes; and the 4AD imprint on the back of this spring’s Actor are all unassuming but essential elements of a brand. The album’s supposed genesis sounds as if it were designed to intimidate or nauseate: In a Parisian hotel room, Clark “drew” the notes she wanted as pictures, handed them to a friend to transcribe, and then had a band rehearse them.

Yet you wouldn’t be able to find a hint of insincerity in any of the 39 minutes. Clark is somewhat of a Jeff Tweedy, lyrically, in that her characters all face moments of quiet desperation. They don’t lash out, despite what the title of “Laughing With A Mouth Of Blood” suggests. She leaves the drama to her fragmented sonics, which range from piano-fed flights of fancy (“The Bed”) to serene-cum-frayed electronica (“Marrow”) to her bread-and-butter pulsating pop (“The Strangers,” “Save Me From What I Want”). She underwrites everything with her collected vocal demeanor, which kisses each note regardless of what’s going on around it. With out recycling ideas she nevertheless maintains an eliptical sensation, augmenting characters who find themselves going through the motions.

Still, it must have been hard to write out the arrangements with lipstick all over the place.

Pattern Is Movement open. This show was originally booked at Epiphany. All tickets will be honored.

Steve Forstneger

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