David Bryne & St.Vincent: Love This Giant
Here’s another ‘superstarry’effort from a Cancuk/American combination of talents, the godfather of modern artrock David Bryne and geek rock guitarist suprema Annie (St. Vincent) Clark. When superstars come together, the expectation is of something new from them, something ‘super’. Not this time. Wisely aware that their peculiar aesthetics are way too far apart for a comfortable meld, this album is a promising graft of the best bits from each one’s trick bag. So no reinventing the wheel then, just build a whole new vehicle.
Excellent news for artrock fans is that many of the rhythms and arrangements could have come right off a Talking Heads album, making this David’s liveliest output in some time. He did it without compromising his conceptualist cred by building the album around a brass band, an in yer face challenge to both these notoriously picky aesthetes and their fans.
So damn if the thing doesn’t sound fresh, confident and downright infectious in parts. As might be imagined, arrangements stop just this thrilling side of over the top, and the melodies the pair have come up with sound right every time.
A surprise is how well the voices both counterpoint and harmonies each other, with Mr. Avant Garde getting all accessible with some of the best licks of his career. The lady veers between quirky and a imposing haunted sound, conjuring shades of Chan Marshall, but unmistakably a product of the St. Vincent sensibility.
No surprise is the Moebius strip-style narratives and evocative imagery that’ll give lyrics geeks lots to paw over and unearth. On that front, “I Am An Ape” is a standout feat of twisted narrative propelled by very unusual imagery. The brass band concept is brilliantly burnished with the alternating urgent funk and funereal plod of “I Should Watch TV.”
St. Vincent’s brilliant and off the wall suggestion to ceate the album as if for a brass band would have been a farout thing either way. That it’s resulted in a sound fresh, accessible, multi-faceted and correctly quirky will draw many Talking Heads comparisons and on the current pop landscape, that’s a very good thing.