St Vincent – All Born Screaming

All Born Screaming introduces a new Annie Clarke, as she discards her icily cerebral persona and becomes nakedly feral.

The transition to beast mode happens when second track “Reckless” mutates from genteel to carnivorous with a blitzkrieg of concussive programmed drums and chinking synths.

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Dave Grohl’s massive drums intensify the hard-funk ferocity of “Broken Man” and “Flea” before the LP’s first half climaxes with the Princely strut, “Big Time Nothing”.

The vibe becomes lusher as trumpets herald the ’60s film theme vibes of “Violent Times”, lifts off with the massed voices and serrated guitars of “So Many Planets” and climaxes with the title track, a Cate LeBon collaboration that shape-shifts from frisky rave-up to hallucinogenic excursion, as Clarke completes another radical musical/psychological metamorphosis.

The Road to All Born Screaming

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STRANGE MERCY

(4AD, 2011)

Though she was covering Big Black’s “Kerosene” in her live set, there was as yet little of that energy in Annie Clark’s recordings. But her songs were growing darker and more direct: notably on “Cruel”, the video

ST VINCENT

(Loma Vista, 2014)

On her breakthrough album, Annie goes big, goes bold and brings a new pop ambition (“I want all of your mind” she sings on “Digital Witness) to her troubled funk workouts.

MASSEDUCTION

(Loma Vista, 2017)

Annie hits her imperial peak on this matchless collection of neurotic electropop (“Los Ageless”, “Young Lover”) and bilious late night bar ballads (“New York”).

Stephen Troussé

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