David Byrne & St. Vincent – Love This Giant

31 October 2012

Love This Giant is wonderful. The clattering brass, sheer musicality, and rich songwriting of the ridiculously talented David Byrne and Annie Clark are a revelation in what idiots call ‘art music’.

 David Byrne is an unquestionable genius, and if you have never heard the magic of the Talking Heads, you should be greatly ashamed of your efforts—not to mention immediately obtaining their back catalogue, blasting This Must Be the Place as loud as you possibly can, and dancing around your living room in an over-sized suit that makes your head look like a peanut grown by Jimmy Carter—that damn peanut farmer, he should never have been President.

The other part of this equation, Annie Clark, is on her own ascent. Last year’sStrange Mercy was fantastic and is still spun as regularly as a heroin junkie’s defecatory cycle is not. She used to be with the Polyphonic Spree, she played in Sufjan Steven’s backing band, and plays a mean guitar.

As great as Annie Clark is at playing guitar, and David Byrne is at being a quirky mastermind with great hair, the hero of Love This Giant is clearly the big, funky horns that dominate every spare moment. If you think of a 12-inch Subway sub as an analogy for this album—first you need to imagine that a Subway sub is actually a desirable thing to put in your grasping and gaping maw—the horns are some kind of amazing bread made with Motown sweat, David Byrne is the meat and Annie is the seasoning. Now, everything at Subway tastes exactly the same whether it be meatballs and jalapeneos, or chicken with ranch and cheese but in this case the horns hold it all together, and elevate it to something special.

What it comes down to is eating a sandwich made of fresh Motown horns, cured and well-aged David Bryne meat, and seasoned with a light parfait of Annie Clark. Not that I’m advocating eating people. Don’t eat people.

Before I veer into the total insanity of a flesh devouring music lover, let me bring this back to some semblance of cohesive thought. Byrne & Clark have produced a collection of songs that walk a tightrope perfectly. They are intimate while remaining as upbeat and funky as Mickey Rourke in spandex, experimental while remaining accessible, and fun without being throwaway. If I may be so bold as to make a prediction, this album will in all likelihood only grow in esteem as time goes on. The feat of a record being more important over time is as rare as owners of Donald Trump’s fragrance, The Essence of Trump.

David Byrne has still got it, and Annie Clark still has more to give, so pickup this modern classic before I eat someone and get thrown in prison—where I will surely be driven only to eat more people.

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