David Byrne & St Vincent : Love This Giant
David Byrne and St Vincent’s art-rock project has been announced as the first act for this year’s MONA FOMA and it’s a good match for the grounds of Tasmania’s black-art den. Inspired by a Dark Was The Night collaboration between Bjork and Dirty Projectors, the like-minded twosome showcase their own distinctive vocals on the 12 tracks compiled for Love This Giant. Forming a united front, they defend their vocal standing against an oppressive, bombastic backdrop of brass.
The end result is dense and urgent, the music constantly prodding and poking the performers. It’s a case of everything but the kitchen sink, and the kitchen sink in this case is Annie Clark’s guitar – a big part of St Vincent’s sound, here it’s almost completely sidelined. Thankfully the horns pull back slightly for the Clark-penned Ice Age and she works a bit of sass into album highlight, Weekend In The Dust. Only later in the album does she seem to get a bit lost amongst the busyness.
Byrne is generally in good form here, all formal dysfunction and wide-eyed incredulousness on typically analytical songs such as I Am An Ape and I Should Watch TV. The main drawback of his compositions is that sometimes they ride along on one strong idea and then finish a little abruptly. It’s not the best work from either artist and is something of a novelty, but it’s all good, theatrical fun.
BY CHRIS GIRDLER
Best track: Weekend In the Dust
If You Like These, You’ll Like This: Grown Backwards DAVID BYRNE, Actor ST VINCENT
In A Word: Outsiders