Artist: St. Vincent

Album: Strange Mercy

Grade: C-

Annie Clark has said she likes to “blindside” her listeners by suddenly changing the direction of her songs. However, even new St.Vincent fans will have learned her sharp turn formula by the third track, where these twists become predictable, even tedious. The melodies themselves showcase Clark’s guitar skills with a richness that reels you right in. That is, until she pulls a mad hatter move again and you’re back to massage-parlour synth with delicately whispered lyrics.

In ‘Surgeon’ vocals that make the command “come cut me open” seem like a dirty proposition shift into a petrified plead for help. ‘Cheerleader’ benefits from a less restless arrangement and serves as a tasteful alternative to Lily Allen’s chart-topper ‘Not Fair’.

These songs almost make you want to forgive her firm grip on old methods. It’s just a shame that they get a lost in the chaos of lesser tracks.

In a Nutshell: A patchy effort with some high points