St. Vincent

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Annie Clark has yet to write a bad song. The strikingly beautiful (just check out either of her LP covers or do yourself an even bigger favor and go see her live) singer-songwriter began her career touring with the likes of The Polyphonic Spree and Sufjan Stevens before releasing 2007’s magisterial Marry Me (Beggar’s Banquet) which included such barnstormers as the gnarly “Marry Me” single and the seductive “Your Lips Are Red.”

The LP boasted of Clark’s myriad skills and operatic singing voice and proved girls may indeed be having all the fun. Clark is a true whiz with a guitar, treating it like it’s her ideal lover and worst enemy, all at the same time.

Last month’s Actor (Beggar’s Banquet) is even better. Clark has thoroughly improved on nearly everything from her debut and did a majority of it all by her lonesome in front of a computer screen, the great John Congleton (The PaPeR ChAsE) helping her bring it all home.

Actor marinates in moments of high spectacle and eerie disenchantment. The slyly disturbing guitar eruptions of “The Strangers”, the nearly three minute orchestral stomp that concludes “Black Rainbow”, the bubbly beats that permeate “Laughing With A Mouth Of Blood” and “Marrow”; and its all delightful and its all ingeniously entertaining. Actor works on so many levels it’s hard to imagine a better album of the year; and it’s only June. It also has what may very well be the best LP cover of the year with Clark’s angelic, perfectly proportioned face beaming from a bright; almost too bright orange background. Not a curl is misplaced upon her head, her thin lips full and pink. You really wonder what it is she could possibly be grinning about; it just might be the nearly flawless LP contained therein. She’s even better live.


Paul Barbatano lives and works in Dayton, OH. He has written about music for the Dayton City Paper and Tiny Mixtapes. He currently works at the library at the University of Dayton where he also teaches English. More from this author →