REVIEW: St. Vincent – ‘Rattlesnake’

Loma Vista/ Caroline International
Released: 3rd November 2014
More information on St. Vincent’s Official Website

‘Rattlesnake’ is the first song and latest single from St Vincent’s thoroughly brilliant self-titled album from earlier this year  and it might, despite plenty of competition, be the album’s best song. It was inspired by a time when Annie Clark drove out into the desert and decided to take her clothes off and wander about, as you do, but then came across a venomous rattlesnake and fled back to safety.

The song has a reptilian twitchiness to it, particularly in its blurts of synth in the intro and its tense repetitions of ‘running, running’ and ‘sweating, sweating.’ I saw St Vincent perform live twice in her various UK tours this year and both times she opened with this, her expression blank and intimidating, miming, boxing and ducking as the synth intro repeated. This song, along with those glorious live performances, is a perfect example of the increased confidence and showmanship that has transformed St Vincent from the quietly brilliant guitar player of her previous work into the Ziggy Stardust/Kate Bush-influenced big-haired icon that she is now.

The song builds and builds and manages to be infuriatingly catchy without even having a real chorus, then breaks into the kind of screeching, stuttering guitar solo that St Vincent does better than anybody else at the moment. ‘Rattlesnake’ is one of my favourite singles of the year, easily as good as the album’s lead singles ‘Birth in Reverse’ and ‘Digital Witness,’ and is a demonstration of just how great St Vincent has become in the last few years.

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