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St. Vincent

Tonight @ The Pabst Theater, 8 p.m.

Jun. 5, 2009
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After beefing up her credentials through time on the road with Polyphonic Spree and Sufjan Stevens, two acts whose expansive arrangements she doubtlessly studied, Annie Clark went solo as St. Vincent in 2007, releasing Marry Me, a chilly album coated by layers of baroque pop, classical flourishes and mannered quirk. Clark’s 2009 follow-up, Actor, is even more striking, resurrecting the frilly woodwinds and whimsical sounds of old Disney records, but using them in the service of a cycle of songs nearly as bleak as Lou Reed’s Berlin. That the ladylike performer sings songs of such desolation with an unnatural, finishing-school poise only makes them that much more unsettling.

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