With the release of her fourth, self-titled LP less than a month away, art rock songstress St. Vincent (a.k.a. Annie Clark) has revealed just a little of what to expect from the record. As tracks like "Digital Witness" and "Birth in Reverse" reveal, the album bears sonic resemblance to Clark's 2012 collaborative album with David Byrne, Love This Giant.
"I wanted to make something that was really kinetic, sexy from a rhythm section standpoint," explains Clark in an Exclaim! interview. "For a few reasons, I was almost reverse-engineering the record to make sure there could be a really energetic live show. I was thinking about the live show that was to come while I was making the record. Also, I feel like you can get away with a lot of bananas technicolour stuff on top if the groove is there; you can get away with things because you've got people bobbing their heads. I think that's one of the big lessons of hip-hop. It's a very elastic medium."
The album was a lot easier to write than Clark's last solo LP, Strange Mercy, which she chalks up to confidence inspired by working with the fearless Byrne.
"It came easily in that I've learned to trust my instincts; I felt very confident going into it. But it was still a tremendous amount of effort; I just didn't beat myself up so much in the process."
Of course, she's still meticulous about putting things together right in the studio.
"I think you have to be flexible in the studio and just know when something is killing it or not. I have ears enough to know why something isn't working, and John [Congleton] is great with that in the studio, too. The best thing a producer can do is encourage your instincts and save you from the self-destructive part of your instincts, putting a big gash in the painting after it's done, you know."
She adds, "I'm not a perfectionist, but I am detailed. There are so many moving parts in the music. If the mix isn't quite right, the whole thing is going to fall apart."
St. Vincent arrives on February 25 through Loma Vista/Republic Records. Watch the new video to "Digital Witness" below and read Exclaim!'s newly published St. Vincent cover story here.