DAVID BYRNE & ST. VINCENT //

Love This Giant (4AD / Todo Mundo)

16/20

There’s a lot to be said for the marrying of these two stoic figures in avant-pop on the collaborative Love This Giant. Fans of traditional instrumentation will find plenty to smile about as a strong brass section plays a prominent role throughout the record, but it’s the engaging conversational vocal interplay between Byrne and Annie Erin Clark that makes this record so appealing. Byrne’s status as an elder statesman is confirmed in a number of the tracks where he takes the lead. Album opener Who weaves romance and mystery, with Byrne taking the role of crooner more so than any other point during his career. I Am An Ape is a wistful and effortlessly cool track that recalls Talking Heads at their swaggering best. Clark’s vocal acts as a crystalline antidote to Byrne’s wilder moments, especially on the genuinely amusing and observational Dinner For Two. The album’s crowning glory lies in I Should Watch TV, a wonderfully upbeat piece of brass driven positivity with Byrne declaring “the more I lost myself, the more it set me free” and “it’s good to lose and good to win sometimes / it’s good to die and good to be alive!” The presence of drum-machine beats allows the full power of the horns to drive forward these wonderfully uplifting sentiments. A lovely collection of songs delivered with skill and wit.

 

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Words: Thomas Frost

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