a heavier, darker & more expansive album for the musically intrepid annie clarke, aka st.
vincent. with a gift for fusing the cerebral & the visceral, her melodically elegant arrangements on previous outings ‘marry me’ & ‘actor’ have packed hefty emotional punches. ‘strange mercy’ is no exception but she also wields a virtuosity linked inextricably with the guitar. countless judiciously placed riffs & instrumental flares, each distinct & unique, cohere into grand tableaux that translate into a strong sense of menace. on ‘cruel’, she elicits punchy bursts like an r&b horn section, ‘cheerleader’ froths & boils, with deep & fuzzy guitars bubbling up to the surface & ‘surgeon’ twirls about endlessly, clarke’s vocals dancing amid a blizzard of notes. impressive stuff from a seemingly unhinged musical mind. “vocals drift languidly amid swimmy guitars , siren-like choirs & strings, while lyrical undercurrents of anger, hysteria & black humour tug beneath the surface” 4/5 – q, “the sound of an artist defiantly coming into her own” 4/5 – mojo.