St. Vincent
Marry Me


4.0
excellent

Review

by Lewis STAFF
July 13th, 2007 | 81 replies


Release Date: 2007 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Spree as a bird.

Dallas, Bible-Belt native Annie Clark is the guitarist for the Polyphonic Spree, so it’s no wonder why she looks so frazzled and pleading on Marry Me’s cover. Her hair is curled and whipped out from her pale complexion and arched eyebrows above wide eyes, her shirt unbuttoned, showing her skin and, well, her soul. Marry Me marks a departure for Clark (or St. Vincent, the name she performs under), the guitarist known for her stage performance and her cute intricacies, a common standout for the Spree’s line-up. But it’s here that Clark finally lets her own hair down; the now-formulaic Spree could prosper from Clark’s own eclectic soul bearing.

With a voice that would make Leslie Feist jealous, Clark doesn’t just strip down to Feist’s own acoustic driven music. No, she takes matters into her own hands, celebrating a wide array of tools at her disposal. Just on her own, she masters the guitars, bass, piano, organ, moog, synthesizers, clavieta, xylophone, vibraphone, dulcimer, drum programming, triangle, and percussion; a handful of musicians help out with instruments like the French horn, upright bass and trumpets. On album opener, ‘Now Now,’ a power house of towering instruments (with even a spurt of guitar solos, courtesy of Clark’s history) justly empowers Clark’s no-funny-business persona; “I’m not your mother’s favorite dog,” she sings, “I’m not the carpet you walk on. I’m not one small atomic bomb; I’m not anything at all. You don’t mean that; say you’re sorry.” Devoid of the cheery exterior of the Spree, Clark taps into her own sinister emotions. It’s as refreshing for us as I’m sure it was for her.

But it’s more the execution of what Clark is doing that powers Marry Me, skimping over her sometimes ambiguous and cryptic lyrics that feel like jotted down notes instead of fleshed out stories. In ‘Your Lips Are Red,’ Clark embarks on a heavily down tuned synthesized trip (“My face is drawn… my face is drawn with a No. 2 pencil. Your face is drawn from drawing words right from my lips”) that plays off what she isn’t saying, instead implying with her tone and the jutting, villainous pianos and melodic electric guitars. In the R&B beat driven ‘Marry Me,’ Clark is hell bent on marrying this John character, throwing guilt and self-pity in with a touch of sadness (“I’m as fickle as a paper doll being kicked by the wind when, and when I touch down again I’ll be in someone else’s arms… We’ll do what Mary and Joseph did without the kid”).

But Marry Me is at its best when Clark tampers with its own formula, corrupting loops into soul-stealing melodies and choruses into violin violent passages; ‘Apocalypse Song,’ while far from mirroring its telling title, shifts between indie pop and indie rock like it has any business doing so (she makes a damn good argument that it should). Its first verse builds like Clark is going to place her, figuratively speaking, balls to the wall for the chorus; instead, she falters for a second before pulling back into a simmering, high octave chorus. ‘Landmines’ is a synthesized, alt-rock ballad that gives Clark the kind of edgy, hopeless territory she was hinting at leading up to. In the titillating ‘Paris is Burning,’ she uses a Paris revolution as a metaphor for her own personal revolution over a scheming player (“Sticks and stones have made me smarter; it’s words that cut me under my armor… I am sorry to report, dear Paris is burning after all”).

Without a singular bad track, Marry Me only teeters from an uneven amount of diversity. What could have been an otherwise solid rock ballad in ‘All My Stars Aligned’ comes complete with tepid amounts of eclectic pianos and shortchanged violins. And completing the album on two jazz influenced cabaret style numbers proves that more diversity could have spiced it up just enough to end on a catchier number. Still, problems and few lyrical blunders aside (“Life is like banquet food: pleasure to peruse”), Annie Clark in St. Vincent has, surprisingly enough, put out one auspicious debut; more than just a by-the-numbers indie pop album, Annie Clark comes into her own with a debut that could very well upstage her more well-known counterpart and proves that she would fare better on her own. It makes one wonder: What else is the overcrowded Polyphonic Spree hiding from the public’s eye?



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user ratings (424)
3.8
excellent
other reviews of this album
Beargyle (3.5)
St. Vincent's Marry Me is a beautiful, surprising album that employs unending subtlety and sincerity...

Sejine (3.5)
I'm on your side when nobody is, cause nobody is. Come sit right here and sleep while I slip poison...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Fort23
July 13th 2007


3071 Comments


Very good review, I'm checking this out now.This Message Edited On 07.13.07

Fort23
July 13th 2007


3071 Comments


snap crackle pop.
Took a listen, and I liked it.This Message Edited On 07.13.07

Fort23
July 15th 2007


3071 Comments


Well now I just heard the whole shebang. Do you think Polyphonic Spree is similiar to St. Vincent, or totally different?This Message Edited On 07.15.07

The Jungler
July 15th 2007


4826 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Just listened to the first track, really cool.

samthebassman
July 16th 2007


2164 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

This sounds badass, I will see if I can find a copy.

A_Guy
July 17th 2007


106 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Man, I love this album. I saw her live in Chicago and have been waiting for this cd for months.

samthebassman
July 26th 2007


2164 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Wow, this album is unbelievably boring.

descendents1
July 26th 2007


702 Comments


I've been thinking about getting this after the review.
I hate PSpree with a passion (any band with more than ~6 members can suck it because they're not making music for many reasons past the profit), so I thought I wouldn't check this out.
The only problem I have with your review is that you spend the whole time talking it up, and then using your conclusion as the guide to the rating. That's why it's hard for me to tell how good this is, and differentiate between what you consider a 3.5 and a 4.5; I don't know whether to get this, or World's End Girlfriend. I thought your Fields review was excellent though, because I didn't feel misled about the rating during the review or when I was finished.
On a side note, your introduction doesn't touch on Skeletor Clark needing a good pound of makeup every morning.
But yeah man keep up the good work, you're still a large shareholder of the indie corp in my books.

jeremologyy
July 28th 2007


293 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off



Original, and impressive instrumentally, but it does tend to bore after a couple songs. "Now, Now" is overlong. "Paris is Burning" is much better live, which is good and bad. And she sometimes has such plain lyrics. But she has a pretty voice and plays every single instrument ever.

Although, I HIGHLY disagree with you when you say she could make Leslie Feist jealous. No way. Feist has such a better voice.

Fort23
July 28th 2007


3071 Comments


Ok whats with the soundoff being the same thing as your comment.

jeremologyy
August 2nd 2007


293 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

im sorry, i did it the wrong way.

The Jungler
September 28th 2007


4826 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Sorry about the rating Lewis.

This is a cool album though, I have a feeling I'll be listening to it a lot more. Rating may go higher in the future.

IsItLuck?
Emeritus
March 13th 2008


4949 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

yeah solid, solid album.

robin
Emeritus
April 13th 2008


4594 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this looks kind of cool. I had no idea she'd released anything on her own.



*oh yeah, good review.This Message Edited On 04.13.08

ak50324
October 19th 2008


1 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

She's so good

Waior
April 28th 2009


11629 Comments


This sounds awesome?

gaslightanthem
April 28th 2009


5208 Comments


not rly no

Waior
April 28th 2009


11629 Comments


then it sounds decent

gaslightanthem
April 28th 2009


5208 Comments


it's okay but pretty boring after 2 or 3 songs, there are plenty of better female singer-songwriters

Waior
April 28th 2009


11629 Comments


Like Lisa Hannigan.



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