Accomplished guitarist and session musician turned indie darling, St. Vincent (Annie Clark) continues her transformation project with her fourth release, the eponymous St. Vincent. Heralding a more revolutionary than evolutionary change, what's immediately obvious is the finery and detail of her previous work has taken a back seat here to cleaner, sharper lines and more purposeful messaging.
The dystopian vibe and muted colours of the video for lively lead single 'Digital Witness' are testament to this new direction, a fitting match to the beat and sample driven vibe of the song itself. And while she hasnít exactly left the guitars to gather dust in the corner of the studio, the album as a whole is built from an electronic foundation and later adorned with occasional shimmering guitars and synthesised flair.
The personal touch hasn't been lost completely however. Vulnerable moments such as the rawness of Clark's tribute to her seriously ill Mother (who has since made a full recovery) in 'I Prefer Your Love' is a poignant reminder that the song writing hasn't been sacrificed for style. However, amongst the progressive new direction, these more classic singer-songwriter tracks are at risk of feeling dragged along against their will, like lost country kids in a big city school, dressed up but never entirely comfortable.
Overall however, St. Vincent is a magnificent collection of inventive and exciting songs from an artist who consciously refuses to stand still and has committed to continually lifting the bar on what is becoming a very accomplished career.