Passing the Art-Rock Torch
David Byrne has reached that point in his career where he can pretty much do anything he wants. In his latest collaboration with solo rocker St. Vincent (Annie Clark), Love This Giant, the two use their eccentric talents to create a thick musical tapestry.
The album itself is as delightfully odd as the artist pairing, and in a big way, this lends the album its unmistakable charm. Annie Clark rocks the short, abrasive guitar riffs while Byrne brings the entire brass section. In their flirtatious singing banter, Byrne has the powerfully deep huskiness of David Bowie while Clark has jittery, stylized vocals that showcase a similar breathlessness as Imogen Heap.
Album opener, “Who,” is a perfect introduction to a delightfully oddball album such as this. It fluctuates between the two styles brought by very different artists and strikes a perfect balance. “Weekend in the Dust,” continues this trend by spotlighting Clark’s vocals set to a backdrop of Byrne’s brass instruments. In this song, Clark channels Prince back in his glory days with her curt vocal stops. “I Should Watch TV” let’s the pendulum swing back to Byrne’s talents. On this track, Byrne’s passionate vocals go up against the sound of screaming trumpets; with the random sounds in the background, this song utilizes a reggae-esque beat and seems to be the most experimental in format.
In its entirety, the album is unified by the two spectrums represented by Byrne and Clark. Love This Giant sounds as if the older Talking Heads generation is passing the art-rock torch to St. Vincent’s younger generation. For an album comprised of experimental indie rock, most of the tracks are sing-along and dance party worthy–Love This Giant is not just noise.