By Brett Bickley
There are certain combinations that, when brought together, make you realize the world has become a better place. The chocolate and peanut butter in a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. An ice cold beer and lawn chair on a brutally hot summer day. Sofia Vergara and a bathing suit. You can now add the new David Byrne and St. Vincent album, Love This Giant to that list.
Music fans around the world exhaled a collective, “Oooooooooh!”, when this collaboration was announced. David Byrne – the patriarchal father of indie/alternative music – doing an album with up-and-coming critic’s darling (and a veritable femme fatale of beauty and beats), St. Vincent? People trembled with excitement and anticipation at the thought of what might come about from this musical alchemy. Rest easy because this alchemistic pairing has produced pure gold; 44 minutes and 19 seconds of utter aural awesomeness.
As the horns sound off the beginning of the first track, “Who”, the listener is treated to an album of perfection. This is a journey that combines the experience and brilliance of David Byrne with the youth and innovation of Annie Erin Clarke AKA St. Vincent. The duo works because they are perfect in their differences in every way. Byrne has crafted some of the most brilliant music ever created over the past 30 years ranging from Talking Heads to his solo work with his forays into world music, rock and theatrical scores. It blends beautifully with Clarke’s exuberant youth and her cutting-edge approach to songwriting and execution. Love This Giant is a “father and daughter” amalgam that has produced a veritable musical Möbius strip. At no point does one artist overshadow the other on this album.
From tracks like “I Am an Ape” to “I Should Watch TV”, the listener is treated to a record of songs that makes you wish there was a film or Broadway play to watch as you listen. St. Vincent’s jangly and quirky guitar work – that is so predominate in her solo work – is reined back a bit on this album but still brilliant. Byrne’s vocal and production skills shape and form each song into individual sonic portraits that stand alone crisply and cleanly yet combine as a whole into something simply glorious.
The real surprises on this album are with the horns. Easily the MVP’s of almost every song, the horns add a depth and fullness that give this album the creative weight that will put on many critic’s Top 10 Lists for 2012 album releases. As the low bass notes of “Lightning” begin to shake and vibrate your speakers, Vincent’s sweet alto voice layers across the heaviness to form the sound equivalency of an iron fist in a velvet glove.
In a perfect world, this will not be a one-off project. In a nutshell: buy this album. If you have the chance to see them on tour in the next few months, GO!
Pre-oder here: www.lovethisgiant.com