When Weird Meets Strange and What Happens Afterward; David Byrne and St. Vincent

By on August 21, 2012 in ,

Not that I mean to label any of these great artists but, to be completely honest their music leans more towards the art-rock category than anything else I’ve ever heard. And from what I’ve heard so far off the upcoming collaborative album that’s set to come out on Sept. 11, the combination of these two artists was meant to be. You feel like Byrne has found a lost daughter and Annie Clark (who is the brains behind St. Vincent) has met her long lost musical partner. The album isn’t out but a few songs have been online for a while for preview and they are awesome. Full of horn arrangements funky enough to hold it down in New Orleans and vocally, they compliment each other so well. They will both come to Boston’s Orpheum Theatre on Sept. 23 to perform together.

David Byrne’s history is one that doesn’t need explaining, I love The Talking Heads and regardless of what his former band members may think of him I like his solo work as well. St. Vincent, which consists mainly of Annie Clark the singer/guitarist behind the idea, has created herself a well recognized style. Imagine Bjork with more guitars and a softer voice. I love the how Clark utilizes her guitar for so much of her songs basic structure, making it exciting to wonder what she’ll do with it next, what sounds she can create. Last years Strange Mercy was a hit, making it onto a few year end best lists and it was well deserved. That albums narrative feel is contributed to Clark’s ability to keep the listener’s brain in constant stimulant mode, each song features a different feel, theme, instrumentation and even vocally she’ll sing one song in all harmonies and the other in her soft, beautiful voice. “Surgeon” is an 80’s themed track that takes you to outer space with it’s ending synth solo and when the following track “Northern Lights” kicks in, it provides the closure that “Surgeon” left you gripping for. Yeah, Annie Clark rocks and then she met David Byrne and then they did an album.

The album, titled Love This Giant was born out of the two artists being asked to write and perform a night of music for charity venue Housing Works. They focused the music around the instrumentation of a brass band and after a while they realized that the body of work they had created was worthy of an record. Clark said in response to their collaboration, “I think I’ve reached the pinnacle of who I want to work with” later adding “I’ve never been that closely entwined in the songwriting, arranging, singing and lyric-writing process with anyone” and it’s evident in the two tracks I’ve heard.

It’s a great thing when you can hear how organic a [artnership is, it makes for great art.  Just take a look into how they wrote with each other, either Clark or Byrne would come up with the music and then send it to the other to write over and they would pass it back and forth adding layers and eventually completing the song. It took them three years to complete the project, including sending the songs out to actual brass musicians to arrange them and then finally getting into a studio to record. It is most definitely going to be worth the wait. It’s rare that two artists of different era’s came come together and make something so exciting and new. The first track to be released off the album, “Who” is the perfect blend of the two artists, and yet strangely it also has a pop feel with it’s funky sax, flutters of distorted guitar and Byrne’s soaring lead vocal. They also released another track “Weekend In The Dust” once again featuring a great brass arrangement over a hip-hop beat and featuring Annie Clark’s vocal harmonies (which you can hear, here).  I for one am anxiously waiting like a kid on Halloween to receive the bag of candy that this album will be. If these two songs are this good so far I can only imagine what they will bring to the stage.

Their tour kicks off on 9/15 in Minneapolis. Check them both out in Boston or other locations here.


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