Our Music Year No. 50: St. Vincent, ‘Actor’

By From page A9 | February 19, 2013

Artist: St. Vincent
Title: “Actor”
Year: 2009
Format: Spotify
Grade: B-

One gift of this project is the power of hindsight.

It’s interesting how subsequent releases by an artist shape the ones that came before it. “A Hard Day’s Night” was good pop fun, but it represents an entirely different era for The Beatles when set alongside “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.”

It also helps the listener see how an artist develops. With “Actor,” the listener can see St. Vincent – the nom de musique of Annie Clark, formerly of The Polyphonic Spree – was building the blocks that led to her 2011 breakout album “Strange Mercy.”

There’s a sleekness to “Strange Mercy” that is largely absent here, but the bass still throbs and thuds with endless danceability as it does on “Mercy.”

Clark used a plethora of sounds and instruments, composing the record in Apple’s GarageBand program. Woodwinds walk us into “Black Rainbow” before it builds to distorted, string-swirled madness. “Marrow” wouldn’t be out of place on “Mercy” with a scuzzy, funky beat.

Hindsight being what it is, “Actor” feels like a competent warm up for “Mercy.”

Our Music Year is Daily Republic popular culture writer Nick DeCicco’s yearlong online review in 2012 of albums he had previously not listened to. The reviews will appear in print on their corresponding days during 2013. Reach him at 427-6966 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ndeciccodr.

Nick DeCicco

Nick DeCicco

Nick DeCicco is the editor of the Tailwind and writes the pop culture blog/column For Those About to Rock. Before joining the DR staff in July 2007, DeCicco (pronounced Deh-CEE-Coh) worked at The Union in Grass Valley, Calif., and the Greeley Tribune in Greeley, Colo. A 2004 graduate of the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley, DeCicco spends his free time attending concerts, listening to music, going to movies, traveling and hiking.

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