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St. Vincent

The Year In Review: St Vincent - Strange Mercy

19th December 2011
The Year In Review: St Vincent - Strange Mercy

"Her most potent and cathartic release yet." - Pitchfork (9.0 - BNM)
"Clark has a knack for memorable melody and a winning voice." - The Observer (5/5)
“A flawless exercise in arty pop subversion.”- The Daily Telegraph (5/5)
“Wonderful.”  - Q (4/5)
“Smart, demanding and unique.”- The Guardian (4/5)
Strange Mercy is the shimmering, expansive sound of an artist defiantly coming into her own.”- MOJO (4/5)

St. Vincent, the nom-de-stage of Annie Clark, released her third album Strange Mercy, in September. Having worked together on 2009's Actor, Clark reunited with producer John Congleton, recording the album in her hometown of Dallas, TX at Elmwood Studios. The 11 new tracks showcase Clark's inimitable gift for melody, packing elegant arrangements with hefty emotional punches.

Clark's virtuosity has long been recognised, and Strange Mercy found her redefining the idea of the guitar hero, utilizing the instrument as a pointillist artist might wield a brush. Strange Mercy wasn't an entirely solitary affair either, with Clark joined by a host of other musicians. Included among them are Beck keyboardist and musical director Brian LeBarton, Grammy Award winning musician Bobby Sparks on mini Moog, clavinet, Arp and Wurlitzer, Midlake’s MacKenzie Smith on drums, Daniel Hart on violin, Evan Smith on woodwinds and Phil Palazzolo.

Download album track 'Surgeon’ for free from strangemercy.com and watch the video for first single ‘Cruel’, directed by long-term collaborator Terri Timely, here.

St Vincent also performed four tracks from Strange Mercy for the tenth visual installment in the 4AD Session series. Shot at Shangri-La Studios in the heart of the Brooklyn film and photography district in Greenpoint, the session was recorded with Annie's new band, Daniel Mintseris (keys), Toko Yasuda (moog) and Matthew Johnson (drums).

As with all of the sessions in the series, directors Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard filmed the four tracks with a clear artistic vision. In this instance, the inspiration came from an unlikely source – the memory of seeing a 1968 Shirley Bassey performance of 'This is My Life' on Rai Uno for Italian TV. With that reference point in mind, Annie takes centre stage against the backdrop of a projected live-feed, resplendent in glamorous eye make-up and with her always-impressive guitar work brought clearly to the fore. Watch the session below.

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