St. Vincent
Credit: Tod Seelie

Annie Clark, a.k.a. St. Vincent, plays up the contrasts on her second album, letting her church-choir voice linger on lyrics that hint darkly at themes of violence, sex, and general chaos. The music behind those arresting words takes even more daring twists: Whenever you come across a sentimental string arrangement or a sugary backup vocal here, prepare yourself to hear it punctured within moments by one of Clark’s viciously distorted guitar riffs. Actor is a uniquely potent cocktail of sounds and moods that’ll get you hooked, fast. A

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