David Byrne and St. Vincent get horny on ‘Love This Giant’

Via Auburnpub.com

By David Wilcox

David Byrne, lovable weirdo and former frontman for the Talking Heads, and St. Vincent, mercurial shredder behind one of 2011's best albums, "Strange Mercy," got together with a humongous horn section to release "Love This Giant" Tuesday.

Sax, trumpet and more push the unlikely collaboration's 12 tracks along in funky bursts fired over percolating rhythms. Vocally, Byrne and St. Vincent (Annie Clark) tend to take turns, only alternating verses and harmonizing on select songs, including lead single "Who." There's plenty of highlights: Clark getting unusually soulful on the chorus of "Weekend in the Dust," the triumphant brass cascades on Byrne-led "I Should Watch TV," and Clark's smooth accompanying hook on "Lazarus."

On first listen an album of this sonic density is bound to startle. In the case of "Love This Giant," that confusion — as well as reports that Byrne and Clark recorded it via online correspondence — led me to feel the songs didn't quite gel together. After all, Byrne is such a distinct vocal presence that anyone doesn't quite sound like they're on the same page.

But the horns — the album's third voice, really — hold things down well enough for now. And in the service of two songwriters as bold and deeply rewarding as Byrne and Clark, they'll surrender some of that hold, I'm sure, as the more complex pleasures of "Love This Giant" reveal themselves.

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