St. Vincent - Krokodil [7-inch] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

St. Vincent

Krokodil [7-inch] (2012)

4AD Records

It's still timely to talk about Record Store Day, right? Because Annie Clark just dropped some seriously rocking tunes on a semi-limited edition seven-inch. Better known as St. Vincent, Clark has been charming indie crowds for years now, but she's always held back on her guitar. I'm not complaining--her three albums thus far have all been stellar--but her songs have been stoked more in mood than energy, at least on record. "Krokodil" ends that. Oh boy does it end that.

If you've seen this video, you know Clark is a Big Black fan. "Krokodil" finds her finally fully committing to manic energy and bile. St. Vincent has plenty of desperate, dark songs, but this is one of the few where Clark lets herself freak out vocally as well as lyrically. The whole song is this big pulsing mess of sounds, a calamitous race to the finish.

B-side "Grot" is a little more in the traditional St. Vincent vein. Clark utilizes some of her stock flourishes (cooed Disney back-ups vocals, dark, threatening imagery about losing control), but again, the music sounds a lot more raw. The guitars and drums crash through the mix. Clark tends to compose her songs on a laptop, and that setting has definitely impacted her songwriting style, to the extent that things never get too frenzied or out of control. "Krokodil" and "Grot," however, sound like live songs performed by a live band. Clark's records are amazing, foreboding stuff. But it's great to hear her cut loose a little bit on record; hopefully these tracks are hints of her next album.