David Byrne & St Vincent
‘Love This Giant’ (4AD)
She’s the sprite who’s ignited indie torches aplenty over the last few years, he’s the old-school new-waver whose work with Talking Heads gave Radiohead their name and taught everyone from Franz Ferdinand to Vampire Weekend how to dance. Theoretically, it’s a match made in alt.Americana heaven; in actuality, it was made in the wake of a benefi t gig when, of all people, the staff at a bookshop convinced the pair to write together.
It’s a fecund collaboration. David’s obtuser instincts draw Annie into uncharacteristically tUnE-yArDsian territory throughout, even as Ms. Clark’s languid lounge across leftfield provides a siren call beckoning Byrne back to the more upbeat end of his oeuvre. Yes, there are saxophones (groan) but there are also rewards in abundance.
After all, how many albums this year bounce from marching-band pop (‘Dinner For Two’) straight to bittersweet lolloping (‘Ice Age’), fuse stadium stateliness with time-shifting trickles (as ‘Optimist’ does), or recall the classic crooners in league with Mercury Rev, a trick exemplified by finale ‘Outside Of Time And Space’? We can only hope they soon renew their collaboration; ‘Love This Giant’’s too big and clever, and Byrne-Vincent too perfect a pairing, to be a once-in-a-lifetime affair.