St. Vincent “Actor” Review
Published in Blog Archive, Culture Bully. Tags: Album Reviews, Music.
At times, Actor is exactly what I expected it to be. Conversely, it’s also scattered with tracks that sound nothing like what I had anticipated. The first half of the album adopts an interesting mash of choppy, distorted guitar with Clark playfully breathing life into lyrics that might otherwise come across as desperate or woeful. The chorus of “Save Me From What I Want” repeats the title over and over, while “Paint a black hole blacker,” is continually chanted on “The Strangers,” and “Laughing with a Mouthful of Blood” adds to the morose theme of the record, but all of that is delivered with an odd perkiness to the songs that ring truer to an upbeat pop song. “Laughing with a Mouthful of Blood” particularly sounds as such, with the song delivering a sound parallel to much of what the Bird and the Bee have released, transposing strings with a warped chorus and a friendly pop beat. But following the next song, the crunchy, lighthearted industrial theme “Marrow,” Actor unfortunately drifts into fairly safe territory. While sounding ocean-sized at times, “The Party” slowly flows alongside the last two songs on the album, as Clark’s innocent voice begins to distract the listener from the music beneath it. Clark’s auspicious career has lent her an interesting freedom, one that allows her to tinker with experimental tracks, while also allowing her to fall back on songs that are almost musically beneath her. With Actor she takes advantage of both, and for a casual listener (such as myself), diverting from the predictable is a much welcomed treat.