Actor (Bonus Track Version)
St. Vincent — née Annie Clark — has the ability to counter swirling, sparkling orchestral musical structures with an almost blasé sense that all is not well in the kingdom. “The Strangers,” all gentle woodwinds and glittering strings (is that a lute?) moves majestically as a cloud while Clark exhales, “Paint the black hole blacker, paint the black hole ... blacker.” On the jazz-inflected “Marrow,” a track full of distorted guitars and horns, she flatly intones, “help me, H - E - L - P ... me.” The Berklee-trained artist has already built a solid foundation with earlier works and collaborations (Glenn Branca, Polyphonic Spree) but here on the aptly titled Actor, she takes full control of everything, from set design to catering to the final cut. It’s not surprising that each track here began as a “secret” film score in her head, inspired while immersing herself in her favorite films, which included spectral opposites Badlands and The Wizard of Oz. (See what we mean?) It only makes sense to put twinkling pianos and fluttering flutes up against gargantuan bass drums and Hitchcockian guitars. Doesn’t it?