Love This Giant
This unexpected pairing of former Talking Heads leader David Byrne and St. Vincent (a.k.a. Annie Clark) is made all the more unusual by its elaborate process. Very little time was spent head to head in the studio; rather, over three years the duo composed songs via email and by Logic software. Four instrumentalists (Tony Finno, Lenny Pickett, Kelly Pratt, and Ken Thomson) crafted the elaborate horn parts that dominate the album and bring out the songs' baroque effects. Byrne and Clark alternate lead vocals and support one another when necessary. Clark's guitar explorations are seriously curtailed, while Byrne's eclectic world beat (on drum machines) and bizarre, detached polemics feel comfortably familiar. He's been exploring his remote relationship with the world since his earliest days with Talking Heads. "I Am an Ape" and "The Forest Awakes," like many of the album's best tracks, sound as if they've wandered into a mutant avant-garde rock opera.