David Byrne & St Vincent – Love This Giant
Annie Clark, aka St Vincent's latest project is a collaborative work with David Byrne, in many ways the elder statesman of modern avant-garde pop. The results are a mixed bag; instrumentation is very traditional, and heavily reliant on a tight horn section, pushed right to the fore. Clark's voice is a measured counterpoint to Byrne's – on opener Who, and Lazarus, they trade lines and harmonise for each other, and the result is an engaging musical conversation.
On other songs the lead alternates, with the Byrne tracks emerging as favourites due to a more nuanced, eccentric lyrical outlook. I Am An Ape is a particular highlight, a winding narrative with unusual imagery. The alternating urgent funk and funereal plod of I Should Watch TV has a skewed charm. But overall, Love This Giant isn't career-best material from either artist, sometimes lacking the kind of wilful experimentation we've come to expect from both. [Bram E. Gieben]