Review Summary: Actor shows the potential and talent that St. Vincent ultimately holds
Annie Clark is looking awfully orange lately, and it is certainly not from a spray tanner. Instead, the upcoming indie-rock artist, who goes by her moniker of St. Vincent, wants her face and name out for everyone to see, and her orange cover just might have you craving more than just a creamsicle. Just one album removed from her debut, Marry Me
, St. Vincent has gone from gray to orange, but the colors hardly represent the mood between albums. Actor
represents a more defined and daring side of St. Vincent, a side that is rather enticing.
The mystique of Actor
can all begin with “The Strangers.” A tidy and fitting opening track which transforms from cute to daring before angelic hymns whisk away the beautiful mess created. “The Strangers” and Actor
as a whole may not live up to the pop-sensibilities found in “Now Now” from Marry Me
per se, but the rich and harmonious sound is still there. St. Vincent is rather well versed at integrating darker, heavier sections with harmless, fragile portions found in tracks like “The Neighbors” and “Marrow.” With such in-song diversity, Actor
floats by with little hesitation or disturbances. The flow is seamlessly natural, and certainly plays ‘faster’ than Marry Me
also finds itself buried deep in what can sound like a soundtrack to a whimsical Middle-Ages themed fable at times (see: “Black Rainbow” and “The Bed”). Using an array of different instruments varying from woodwinds to xylophones, a small orchestra builds layers backing St. Vincent’s voice, one that never stresses or necessarily strives for the higher notes. Certainly one of the vocal and musical highlights comes from the slow-ballad in “The Party.” Simple, melodic pianos tipped with wavering hymns combine for a riveting performance; a performance that is later intensified by accompanying strings and drums. Lyrically, St. Vincent is charming, smart, and certainly entertaining; characteristics that mirror the album rather well.
Between the organic and artificial sounds found in Actor
, St. Vincent’s voice melts the two clashing styles into a divinely pleasurable experience. It’s clear that the experimental side of St. Vincent is still growing and maturing to fit with her pop style, but for now it is working out without much of a hitch. Nothing rhymes with orange and I can confidently say that nothing out right now is quite like St. Vincent’s Actor