Annie Clark is never one to settle in and be comfortable. From her debut Marry Me way back in 2007 to 2017s Massedution, Clark kept pushing her songwriting and sound to new plateaus. Changing up her sound and personas like David Bowie, but bringing a touch of grand melodrama to the albums like Kate Bush, was something you could count on with each release and Clark delivered.
In 2017 with Masseduction Clark began working with producer Jack Antonoff, taking huge turn sonically. The album was much bigger in sound and scope and saw Clark taking St. Vincent closer to, for lack of a better term, the mainstream. On her newest album Daddy’s Home, once again written and produced with Antonoff, St. Vincent continues to evolve and shapeshift in sound and tone. This time the decade is the 70s and the sound is New York grimy soul. This is Clark’s “Thin White Duke” record, complete with horns, background singers, and a tinge of strung out decadence for good measure.
When speaking about the album, Annie Clark revealed it was influenced and inspired by her father’s release from prison, a 12-year stint he served for a stock manipulation scheme. Clark takes the role of a beat-up, drug-addled lothario making her way thru the lower east side followed by a Greek chorus of soulful background singers.
Album opener “Pay Your Way In Pain” starts in tin pan alley and ends up in the grimy streets of the lower east side. Antonoff and Clark give this album, and in-particular this track, a very big personality. This is Clark’s Midnight Vultures moment; funky, frantic, and a little goofy. It’s not all bombastic funk, though, as the Joni Mitchell-esque “Down and out Downtown” combines all of St. Vincent’s superpowers into one great track. “The Melting of the Sun” lays down some serious Sly Stone vibes with some great sounding electric piano.
Some sonic footprints walked in here are definitely Bowie and Sly Stone, but you can also hear bits of Harry Nilsson, Plastic Ono Band, and even Betty Davis. But no matter how many sonic jackets St. Vincent puts on, she still comes thru as herself. “The Laughing Man” has a slow motion queasiness to it, bringing to mind her Actor days. “…At The Holiday Party” has the soulful feel of singer-songwriter fare with touches of Norah Jones thrown in.
Annie Clark continues to keep her musical persona St. Vincent interesting and ever-evolving. Even with the music svengali Jack Antonoff involved, St. Vincent never gets lost in the slick production. Daddy’s Home is a solid addition to the discography.
7.8 out of 10