St. Vincent has just announced the release of her eponymous fourth studio album, which is due out Feb. 25 via Loma Vista. She had been hinting at something through a series of images on her Facebook page and by streaming background snippets of new music on her website, but today, we get our first full taste with "Birth in Reverse."
Following on the heels of her last solo album, 2011's "Strange Mercy," and her 2012 collaborative effort with David Byrne ("Love This Giant"), songwriter-guitarist Annie Clark has once again teamed up with producer John Congleton (The Polyphonic Spree, Baroness, The Mountain Goats). She has brought on members of Midlake and Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings to fill out the sound on the new recordings.
"I knew the groove needed to be paramount," Clark said about her choice of guest musicians. "I wanted to make a party record you could play at a funeral."
On lead single "Birth in Reverse," she spins jagged riffs and arrhythmic percussion into a cacophonous blend of pop instincts and avant-rock tendencies. But underneath the distorted instrumentation and her own deeply expressive vocals, she has laid out a remarkably malleable melody that bends and contorts to fit the song in unexpected ways.
Her skills as an ax slinger are on full display here, but there is a sense of balance to the wild shredding of her past records—namely, a specifically attuned melodic restraint that she occasionally lets run loose. Her tendency to make the ordinary seem extraordinary finds full expression here as she opens the song with the lyrics, "Oh, what an ordinary day/Take out the garbage, masturbate" but which eventually leads to "Laugh all you want, but I want more/What I'm swearin', I've never sworn before." It's a powerful statement, made even more so by its honest simplicity.
Stream the track below.
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