Annie Clark’s fourth (seriously? Self-titled? Get a fucking grip- your debut is allowed to be self-titled, or perhaps your late career attempt to reverse a loss of form and fortune and recapture the days when you were relevant. But fourth?? It shows such a heinous lack of respect for the conventions that I couldn’t let it pass) is the sound of something absolutely marvellous: an artist’s growth into their own sound and style reaching completion and their feet finally filling their shoes perfectly and delightfully comfortably. You could argue whether or not it’s St Vincent’s best record (her third ‘Strange Mercy’ was at least as wonderful, and contained perhaps more moments of that could truly stun you silent with its sheer invention and idiosyncrasy) but it’s definitely Clark at her most delightfully comfortable with her sound. ‘St Vincent’ carries the feeling that it was written and recorded in one take, maybe a lazy Sunday afternoon after Clarke realised the local cinema wasn’t actually showing ‘Transformers: Age of Extinction’ until early evening and she suddenly had a few hours free. St Vincent (the artist, not the record. Do you see how confusing this becomes?) takes her cues from prog rock and jazz, never taking the obvious route to any song’s destination, and yet crafts it all together to create wonderful and wonderfully unlikely pop music- you’d never accuse the gorgeous Prince Johnny of allowing its experimentation to get in the way of it being perfect pop. She’s also an absolutely killer guitarist, yet like the equally talented Prince she rarely if ever pushed the skill to the forefront for cheap fret-wanking, only ever really utilising it when it best services the incredible songs. St Vincent is certainly a major player now. The open mouthed cheek slapping reaction to Birth in Reverse‘s opening lines (‘Oh what an ordinary day/Take out the garbage, masturbate’) when it was first released as a single in December last year shows that in 2014 (well, 2013 technically) there’s still nothing as shocking as a woman admitting to wanking. Unless of course everybody was just shocked that she took out her own rubbish- don’t these people have people for that sort of thing?