Masseduction LOMA VISTA/CAROLINE ★★★★★
Mechanical beats and abrasive synths underpinned by producer Jack Antonoff’s feedback-pocked soundbedof-nails: Annie Clark’s sixth album as St Vincent is not immediately inviting. But it is fascinating, sometimes grimly so, with Clark relating scenes from a relationship with a drugged-up Young Lover. Yet the frank confessions
– of transgressive desire, pathological anxiety and romantic rejection – that pepper Masseduction transcend gossipy intrigue. (Inevitably, people will assume some of the material is inspired by her breakup with exgirlfriend Cara Delevingne.) Sonically, the record unfurls into something captivating, as Clark ditches the guitar rock for pop that is rich, nuanced and surprising. Single songs journey across genres. Pills, for example, begins like a bass-heavy remix of a nursery rhyme and ends up a big ballad with a Kamasi Washington sax section – while bizarrely amusing ingredients are continually added, from parodically funky synth lines to shrill vocal gymnastics that would have Mariah Carey cowering on her chaise lounge.
St Vincent’s frank confessions of romantic rejection transcend gossipy intrigue
Long-distance bond … Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile; below,