Like the marriage of her wide-eyed, porcelain-doll visage and her buzz-saw guitar licks, Annie Clark has made a career under her stage name of St. Vincent by capitalizing on jarringly pleasant juxtapositions. This year's Strange Mercy, her third solo LP and second produced and recorded in Oak Cliff with John Congleton, continues that thread with spindly beats, fluid and metallic guitar lines and, at the center, her unflappable voice.
As a singer, Clark conveys ennui and sensuality often in the same line, and she doesn't rely on vocal tricks or operatic delivery to make her mark. Like the rising undulations of Strange Mercy's "Cheerleader" or the increasingly desperate chorus of "Surgeon," Clark takes a small, simple idea and manhandles it until the song begins to bristle.
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A Dallas native, Clark will celebrate her homecoming this weekend with a two-night stay at the Kessler Theater, located not far from where she recorded her two most recent albums.