Photo by Kirstie Shanley for WS

St. Vincent Keeps the Synth-Pop Faith on “Bad Believer”

Marc Hogan

By Marc Hogan

Lead News Writer
on 01.20.15 in News

In 2011, Annie Clark performed songs from her then-forthcoming album as St. VincentStrange Mercy, opposite the ruins of an Egyptian temple. Although synths and keyboards had factored into each of St. Vincent’s prior albums, this one was different; a More Intelligent Life review of the show said the use of synths “marked a significant turn in her sound” (indeed, her live sample wizard Daniel Mintseris has been with the band ever since).  It’s only fitting to remember St. Vincent’s going-electronic moment in the relics of an ancient religion — she had been supposed to perform on the rooftop of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York but had to settle for this famed exhibit as storms threatened — on hearing “Bad Believer,” a bristling synth-pop salvo about the church. It’s the first of four new songs from the February 9 deluxe edition of last year’s St. Vincent, an album that delves further into the digital. This song’s disillusioned theme and jackhammering snare thwacks almost hark back toward “Terrible Lie”-era Nine Inch Nails, but bell-like peals and an angelic, church-organ breakdown suggest a more nuanced break from tradition. “Give me life,” Clark implores, and then we have more of the wriggling tones that instrumental-music purists might years ago have decried as lifeless.

Listen over at The Guardian.