Review: St Vincent & David Byrne - Love This Giant

Living North: Issue 124

LOVE THIS GIANT - David Byrne & St. Vincent

It’s said that opposites attract, but the partnership of Talking Heads ex-frontman David Byrne and critically acclaimed singer songwriter Annie Clark, AKA St. Vincent, marries together their creative similarities and fortes. As the culmination of more than two years in the making, Clark’s dreamy, alluring vocals complement the gutsy tones of Byrne, his sound still unmistakeable from the huge new-wave hits Road to Nowhere and Once In A Lifetime of the early eighties. Offering inventive arrangements centered around a brass band rather than a typical rock ensemble, the record has a carnivalistic vibe with a vivacious afrobeat vein running throughout, exemplified by the vibrant Dinner For Two and The One Who Broke Your Heart.

Byrne offers stunning harmonisation with an unexpectedly grimy afrobeat on I Should Watch TV, whilst St. Vincent’s vocals are goosebump-inducing on Ice Age, a tranquil number contrasted by the buildup of a lo-fi rhythm. Since the culmination of Talking Heads in 1991, Scottish-born Byrne has been inducted into the prestigious Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and reveled in solo, theatrical, art and film projects, achieving an Oscar, a Golden Globe and a Grammy for his film compositions. Whilst 30 years his junior, Manhattan-based Clark has firmly established herself as a significant artist, working with Bon Iver, touring with Sufjan Stevens and releasing three solo albums, her most recent in 2011 - the particularly celebrated Strange Mercy. Filled with fluctuating narratives with moods of both zest and enigma, Love This Giant is anything but predictable, yet perfectly showcases the pair’s likeminded creativity. The opening track and lead single, Who, is currently available to download for free.