By Ryan Doyon
The music world has been waiting three years for Love This Giant, the first collaborative album from David Byrne and St. Vincent, and the wait has been very worthwhile. The musical love affair between the elder statesman of avant-garde rock and his protégée, Annie Clark, began back in the fall of 2009, when they both played the Dark Was the Night benefit show in New York. The two appeared on stage together here and there over the next few years, each contributing to various music projects, while slowly putting the pieces together for their first album.
Love This Giant starts off magnificently. The album’s first single “Who,” juxtaposes a dizzying blast of saxophone, tuba and drums against Byrne’s distinctively punctual voice, leading into Clark’s whispery, dreamlike chorus. When their voices blend together further into the track there is no doubt that these two artists were meant to sing together. The next track is the wonderfully funky “Weekend in the Dust,” the type of dance-along number you would expect of the former Talking Heads frontman, and a song that highlights the chemistry between the two eclectic artists beautifully. Byrne and Clark trade lead vocal duties throughout the album, making Love This Giant feel like a collection of ideas and influences, with each playing a pivotal role in the production of the songs. The tracks which feature both artists’ distinct singing style, including “Lazarus” and “The One Who Broke Your Heart,” are highlights in an album full of stellar music, simply because it is a joy to hear their voices mingling amongst the orchestra of sound. The album ends with the spectacular “Outside of Space and Time,” an intergalactic love song which combines all the best elements found on Love This Giant, as Byrne sings “I know we’ll join this cosmic saga/Into galactic matter/Where we will meet tonight/Spiraling out of site/Outside of space and time” and the brass section bidding the listener farewell.
We can only hope that this inaugural album is the first of many more to come. If that is not the case, at least the two artists will have educated their separate fanbases on what a true partnership sounds like, and perhaps will even bolster the sales of their previous solo albums.