Three and a half years after Annie Clark teamed up with perennial producer of the moment Jack Antonoff for the excellent Masseduction, the power duo returns with another full commitment to exploring a new sound. So pretty much it’s business as usual for the experimental multi-instrumentalist lovingly known as St. Vincent.
Clark’s sixth album, Daddy’s Home, is loosely based on a moment of reckoning with the agency she brings to her own life after her father’s release from prison. The 14 tracks are loaded with 70s-inspired grooves from many genres, Wurlitzer pianos and even St. Vincent interspersing her guitar solos with some sitar playing during multiple tracks. She runs through topics like grappling with substance abuse, society’s failings of transgressive female celebrities, and, most powerfully, expectations placed on women to be wives and mothers, all with a catchy and emotionally poignant pop edge and engaging musicality on just about any instrument lying around the studio.
Like most of her best work, these tracks can be slightly off-kilter and uncomfortable in the best way. Something sinister often cuts through her upbeat pop sheen, whether it’s an eerie melody, distorted wail, or a blunt lyric that catches you off guard. As usual, St. Vincent addresses most of these difficult topics with sarcasm and gallows humour, but it’s all brought back by her endlessly expressive, incredibly human performances.