There’s a vibe that St. Vincent has always given off, something intangible in her music that’s been present since her debut that isn’t really equalled by many other artists. There’s something about her work that feels like a higher tier of art than many other musicians out there. It’s quite similar to the feeling you get when you know you’re watching something like Terrence Malick if you’re used to Christopher Nolan movies. Sure, Nolan’s movies are brilliant in their own regard, but Malick’s work just feels...higher in some way. He’s a true auteur, and I feel like St. Vincent exists in the same category, albeit a different medium.

Even as early as Marry Me, she began to develop her style as a broadly focused take on the female fronted band, using her vocal swells and untraditional takes on traditional instrument setups to provide a sound not unlike what like music that Dirty Projectors have been making of late. Then with Actor she adopted more of the string elements from Marry Me and upped the production, allowing for a tighter and more focused work than we’d previously seen. Here with Strange Mercy, she’s been further exploring the darker undercurrents that presented themselves on tracks like ‘Save Me From What I Want’ and ‘Actor Out Of Work’. From the beginning that darker side is evident, but she doesn’t really use it in a dark way. Songs like ‘Cheerleader’, while obviously informed by this darkness, sound exultant in spite of it all. Her delivery, is wry, nearly taunting, unlike what you’d expect from an artist seemingly shying away from the cutesy sort of persona that she embraced at the outset of her career.

It’s really all just outstanding, I could regale you with paragraph long descriptions of each track (for the most part each track deserves it), or I could preach at length of her artistic evolution and how this seems to be her creative peak, but really I’d just be wasting your time. More than anything this is just an outstanding album--one of the best you’ll hear all year, and likely one of the best you’ll hear over the next several years. Do your self a favour and seek it out. I mean, if you don’t like St. Vincent already, this album probably won’t do a ton to win you over, but if you, it’s just outstanding to see the sort of songwriter that she’s blossoming into.