Annie Clark isn't normally one to hog the limelight as it were. More often than not - in the past anyway - she's left that to the likes of Sufjan Stevens and Tim DeLaughter, both of whom's bands she has been heavily involved with in recent times.
Here though she takes centre stage, ably supported by a 15-strong cast, many of whom are on hiatus along with Clark from their Polyphonic Spree dayjobs. If that little snippet of information has made you think St. Vincent are just going to be about one big throwback to the hippy era of the late sixties, think again. While there aren't any vignettes declaring war and attrition on 'Marry Me', it isn't filled with drippy peace and love nonsense either.
What you do get though are eleven pieces of extremely well-crafted, and expertly delivered music that bring to mind such luminaries as Kate Bush and Joanna Newsom, if not in their delivery, certainly structurally.
Vocally, Clark has a rich tapestry kind of voice that is often lost amongst the crowd in her other vocation. Here though, she excels as the likes of 'Jesus Saves, I Spend' and 'Paris Is Burning' show that quirky needn't necessarily mean annoying. If anything, there's a dark sense of humour throughout 'Marry Me' that lifts it way above anything that most people could have expected, not least than in 'The Apocalypse Song', where Clark's refrain of "Please keep your victory, but give me little death" rings both true and hollow in a sanctimonious kinda way.
One small criticism of 'Marry Me' is that over the course of an album, the arrangements do sometimes become a little samey but given the complexity of each piece coupled with Clark's often nonchalant delivery, you'd be hard-pressed - and probably overzealous - to expect anything more.
The name St. Vincent may have been noteworthy only for its humanitarianism previously; 'Marry Me' should ensure it also becomes synonymous with one of 2007's better debut albums. Engrossing.