Albums to watch

Strange Mercy

St. Vincent

Strange Mercy

Third album of experimental indie pop from the multi-instrumentalist, singer-songwriter Annie Clark

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  1. 10.0 |   Daily Telegraph

    A flawless exercise in arty pop subversion
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  2. 10.0 |   The Observer

    Clark has a knack for memorable melody and a winning voice with shades of Kate Bush and Leslie Feist
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  3. 9.1 |   A.V. Club

    Strange Mercy consistently makes do with little more than a conventional rock-band setup. All the better to display the record’s rougher edges and willingness to let its mistakes show
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  4. 9.1 |   Pretty Much Amazing

    It’s an exciting evolution for St. Vincent’s sound — a visceral album full of beauty and chaos
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  5. 9.0 |   Drowned In Sound

    An album that rockets toward you, ricochets through your emotions and finally decides to lay you down on the floor, headphones on, tumbling around like a blissed-out cat in the sun
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  6. 9.0 |   Rave Magazine

    Its constituent parts may not necessarily naturally work together, but the whole, highly-detailed thing is held together by Clark’s idiosyncratic vision and sheer force of will
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  7. 9.0 |   NME

    A strange and wonderful record that shows no mercy in blowing your mind
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  8. 9.0 |   PopMatters

    Like peers such as Animal Collective and Dirty Projectors, Clark creates challenging music that doesn’t go over your head
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  9. 9.0 |   Pitchfork

    Skips through art-rock touchstones from Talking Heads to Kate Bush to Peter Gabriel without relinquishing a bit of its originality
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  10. 9.0 |   Consequence Of Sound

    Delivering on its promises, challenging thematically and intellectually, while also entertaining
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  11. 9.0 |   Under The Radar

    She has stopped trying to impress and simply made an album assembled through feel and intuition, and, taken as a whole, it feels perfect
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  12. 9.0 |   Spin

    Her third album is her most mercurial yet, a dense clash of post-punk fuzz and baroque-pop rumination
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  13. 8.6 |   Beats Per Minute

    Her most difficult album to penetrate and judge to date, but it also means that some of the rewards on multiple plays are the biggest yet
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  14. 8.5 |   The Quietus

    On Actor, you could sometimes forget what a great guitarist she was – and hearing her relationship with the instrument so clearly is a treat
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  15. 8.0 |   Paste Magazine

    An album that’s full of ambitious attempts to create rich tableaus that defy the expectations they create
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  16. 8.0 |   Clash

    A fabulous album, confirming St. Vincent’s status as a deeply talented artist
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  17. 8.0 |   The Line Of Best Fit

    Strange Mercy isn’t a straightforward listen – there are extended guitar noodlings, off-kilter electronic textures and a whole host of wordy literary references jammed into melodies that don’t quite fit
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  18. 8.0 |   Blurt

    Takes a few listens to grasp, and it makes the repeat visits enticing. And that's a sign of a strong album
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  19. 8.0 |   State

    A dense record where the tensions between opposites create their own space, where Clark is left free to ruminate upon those contradictions and she does so, much more alluringly and consistently than before
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  20. 8.0 |   Prefix

    Strange Mercy is her best yet, a deft mixture of self-confession, master class musicality, and downright unshakable songs
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  21. 8.0 |   Mojo

    The shimmering, expansive sound of an artist defiantly coming into her own. Print edition only

  22. 8.0 |   Q

    Clark's vocals drift languidly amid swimmy guitars, siren-like choirs and strings. Print edition only

  23. 8.0 |   The Skinny

    Eerie, hyper-edited choral samples haunt the mix on numerous tracks, whilst suggestive reverb artifacts sporadically play across the stereo field like a wintry breeze
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  24. 8.0 |   The Fly

    ‘Strange Mercy’ is glorious
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  25. 8.0 |   Bowlegs

    A tantalising snapshot into the psyche of an artist growing ever braver, getting stronger, getting better, and ever closer to a likely place as a future behemoth in the industry
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  26. 8.0 |   musicOMH

    It may not be leaps and bounds ahead of previous St Vincent releases, but this is a rich and multi-faceted album to pay close attention to
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  27. 8.0 |   The Guardian

    It's a little top-heavy, and meanders towards the end, but it's smart, demanding and unique, too
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  28. 8.0 |   Evening Standard

    It shouldn't work, but it does: brilliantly unique and uniquely brilliant
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  29. 8.0 |   Slant Magazine

    Clark's bare, sedate St. Vincent persona is the highlight of Strange Mercy, reflecting all the terror, beauty, and allure of her music
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  30. 7.0 |   Tiny Mix Tapes

    Clark and co-producer John Congleton have added layers, weird (but not too weird) textures, and manipulated most of the tracks’ sounds nearly to the point — but not quite — of overproduction, but Strange Mercy still has more room to breathe than any St Vincent album
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  31. 7.0 |   The Quietus

    Clark is great at creating characters and stories
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  32. 7.0 |   Rolling Stone

    Visceral, vivid stuff
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  33. 6.0 |   The Scotsman

    Feels like an exercise in technique, like arrangements in search of a song
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  34. 6.0 |   The Independent

    Annie Clark has jettisoned the baroque string and woodwind arrangements that marked 2009's Actor, in favour of more direct, guitar-based settings
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  35. 6.0 |   The Irish Times

    The constant modifications of tempo and style mean that Strange Mercy is hard to adjust to at times
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  36. 6.0 |   BBC

    Adequate third album from rising indie star
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