David Byrne and St. Vincent
Love This Giant
Published: Wednesday, September 26, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, September 26, 2012 02:09
Even if the very concept of Love This Giant, a wiry collaboration between David Byrne and St. Vincent, aka Annie Clark, sounds like it should be sold alongside half-caf soy lattes, should that count against it?
“When you tell someone Annie and I are doing a record together, and you tell them it involves a brass band, they immediately think, ‘Oh, it’s an art project,’” Byrne muses in The Guardian. But why shouldn’t Love This Giant be an art project?
Far too much has been made of the brass on this album, but it’s not just any brass. The Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra and the Dap Kings contribute to one song, “The One Who Broke Your Heart,” and every other track is stuffed with veteran studio musicians and jazzmen. Rather than simply passing on the worldly funk of the two bands as has often been done, the duo stretch themselves to match their off-the-wall styles.
If there must be a precedent, think of Giant as Clark shifting her gaze from Disney scores, as on Actor, and French New Wave on Strange Mercy, to accommodate Byrne’s wanderlust.
“Thunder” pulses like TV On The Radio, “Dinner For Two” is a masterpiece painted in neuroticism and French horn, and “I Should Watch TV” is a grand return to the sweeping mass media manifestos that made Byrne’s name.
Love This Giant sounds like the easiest thing in the world to pull off for these two agreeable musicians, and simultaneously feels like the work of extraordinary strain. This is no mere gallery piece.