Unapologetically suave and full of excitement
Harrison Smith
11:44 14th May 2021

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Stroll on into Manhattan’s decadent downtown Roosevelt Hotel, pull up a swanky leather armchair and light up the finest cigarillo you can get your leather-gloved hands on because the Grammy award-winning St. Vincent, artistic creation of songwriter Annie Clark, is taking us on a wild journey back in time on Daddy's Home. To 1970’s, sepia-toned New York to be exact; when the optimistic jive of disco was a flicker on the horizon, the bleak underbelly of the Big Apple was lamented by a reinvigorated Lou Reed and sleaze was celebrated in all its sweaty and gritty manifestations. 

Daddy’s Home, the sixth album by St Vincent, a name Clark took from Nick Cave’s ‘There She Goes’ sees her ambling through an intriguing soundscape of woozy jazz and sitar riffs, dodging the traits of the mainstream to create an engaging display of alluring lounge-pop. Similarities of tone, lyrical creativity and late-night inspired groove can certainly be drawn with Arctic Monkeys’ idiosyncratic Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino, but make no mistake: Daddy’s Home transcends more than just a pastiche of the City That Never Sleeps and its smokey nightlife.

It’s a celebration of everything Clark finds so bracing about the multitude of characters one meets in life and the relationships one experiences and with this, Clark faces up to a great many personal reflections which are channelled through the various personas documented in the track-list. Clark herself has said that the album title comes from a real-life experience of her father returning home after a 12-year stint in prison, explored on the title track ("I signed autographs in the visitation room"). Touchingly, her relationship with his classic rock-leaning record collection shapes a hefty portion of the album's overall accent. 

Opening with ‘Pay Your Way In Pain’ Clark establishes the tone quickly - switching abruptly from a jaunty upbeat piano to a seductive bass riff within just a few bars, it’s apparent that she’s on a mission to once again mix things up sonically. Lyrically, we are given the impression that she is a nuisance-prone deviant sauntering around town. There’s a late-night swagger to ‘Down and Out Downtown’ which chugs along smoothly, chock with multiple references to New York. On ‘Melting of the Sun’ Clark namechecks a number of legendary female musicians ("Saint Joni ain't no phoney.../ Brave Tori told her story"). Standout track ‘Down’ oozes gloriously with carnal mischief and arrives fully loaded with an instantly memorable chorus and a refreshing and lofty amount of confidence.

Dishing out an evocative explosion of crooning melodies, abstract coolness and an ardent passion for motifs from a seedy metropolis, St Vincent succeeds in her exquisite vision. It’s an album that’s unapologetically suave and full of excitement. It’s an album designed for repeat listens and sounds all the more magical when listened to in full. So, without further ado, take it easy; unwind. St Vincent has a story to tell. Knock knock. Who’s that at the door? Daddy’s Home. 

Daddy's Home is out now via Loma Vista Recordings.

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Photo: Press