By Jonathan Hopkins
For fans of the idiosyncratic, pairings don’t come any more intriguing than Annie Clark and David Byrne. For the initiated, Annie Clark, better known as St. Vincent, has quickly established herself as one of the most potent forces in avant-garde pop music. David Byrne is, well, David Byrne: founding member of Talking Heads, and one of music and art’s most iconoclastic heroes.
Having met at the Dark Was The Night benefit in New York, and later buoyed by the recent collaboration between Björk and the Dirty Projectors, Clark and Byrne began trading song ideas and structures online before coming together in the studio to produce Love This Giant. A truly mouthwatering pairing, but is the finished product any good?
Thankfully, it is. Despite the distinctly unique flourishes that colour their solo work, the collaborative endeavours of these two disparate artists work seamlessly on Love This Giant. The dynamic duo weave intriguing, amusing and delightfully difficult melodies across rambunctious brass and punchy, synthetic drums. The shared songwriting responsibilities and artists’ inclination to swap vocal duties means that songs frequently test our subjects’ abilities, with often quite tremendous results.
While it’s easy to assume that building an album upon a brass-led foundation might limit its scope, quite the opposite is true. Love This Giant effortlessly packs a boisterous punch on tracks such as ‘Who’, ‘Weekend In The Dust’, and the wonderful ‘I Am An Ape’, while lending ‘I Should Watch TV’, ‘Lazarus’ and the bubbling ‘Optimist’ bright, often soaring tones. Couple this with our principles’ vocals, and you have a truly unique album.
Love This Giant is a thoroughly rewarding listen: quirky, reflective, ambitious and infectious. The live dates are going to be something to look forward to.