By Joshua Mellin
Sounds like: Talking Heads, St. Vincent, David Byrne
What's so good?
David Byrne & St. Vincent's collaborative album Love This Giant masterfully combines both of their avant-garde styles, with disjointed soundscapes stitched together by a brassy horns section that floats throughout. Instantly gratifying, Annie Clark's taunting vocals perfectly compliment Byrne's deadpan delivery, lathering his rigid bravado with honey-soaked harmonies.
Parceled together via e-mail while both were on their own tours, the final product represents a flurry of creativity, packed full of unexpected surprises from two unpredictable artists.
Clark's pleas of "Thaw me out, thaw me out" on the electric "Ice Age" ring reminiscent of her demands to "Come cut me open" on "Surgeon" from 2011'sStrange Mercy, while Byrne's staggered proclamation "I am an ape, I stand and wait" mirror the straight-forwardness of Talking Head cuts like "Psycho Killer." On tracks like "Dinner for Two" and "Lazarus," the two melt together to craft a sound that's undeniably satisfying.
This collaboration was practically unavoidable. Not only do they both inhabit the same sonic atmosphere, but they share the creative backdrop of Brooklyn. Hence the rich, funky New York brass section that even includes The Dap-Kings and Antibalas on the track "The One Who Broke Your Heart."
Both share a knack for collaborating with other artists as well. Byrne, throughout his post-Talking Heads career, most recently lent vocals to The Arcade Fire's "Speaking in Tongues" and teamed up with Fatboy Slim on "Here Lies Love" in 2010, which featured more than 20 artists including Santigold, Florence Welch, Sharon Jones, and of course, Annie Clark. Clark also guested on Andrew Bird'sBreak it Yourself adding lush vocals to the song "Lusitania," and has recently collaborated with artists such as Bon Iver, The National, and Beck.
Brilliant from the first listen, Love This Giant promises to make plenty of year-end lists and appears rich enough to hopefully spawn a follow-up.