All Born Screaming is St. Vincent at her uncompromising best

In her latest opus, All Born Screaming, St. Vincent, the musical alter ego of Annie Clark, unveils a mesmerising mystic musical world that captivates from start to finish. This album marks her inaugural venture into self-production, a milestone that not only underscores her artistic versatility but also showcases her meticulous attention to detail. From the unapologetically honest opener, ‘Hell is Near’, to the epic seven-minute-long title track that closes the record, Clark pulls listeners onto a whirlwind voyage through a kaleidoscope of sounds and emotions.

The album isn’t without ties to Ireland, with mastering and mixing handled by Irish-but-living-in-USA talents Ruairi O’Flaherty and Cian Riordan, All Born Screaming serves as evidence that Irish folks really do have their hands in music everywhere. However, with no Irish tour dates on the calendar, we can only hope that the lads can convince St. Vincent that she should bring the forthcoming show to Ireland.

One of the most striking aspects of All Born Screaming is Clark’s adeptness at melding seemingly disparate elements into a cohesive whole. Drawing on her years of experience in the industry, Clark and a few of her famous friends – Dave Grohl and Cate Le Bon are among those who added some of their skills to the work – seamlessly integrate elements of electronic experimentation with drum machines, synths, powerful guitar work and intricate vocal layering.

From the ethereal melodies of ‘So Many Planets’ to the pulsating rhythms of ‘Reckless’ each track offers a glimpse into the depths of Clark’s creative vision. In the latter track, Clark mournfully sings, “Your love was an anchor, and I am lost at sea, I hear the writers calling, they’re calling for me”, then the song explodes into a cacophony of powerful drums and this sci-fi inspired synth which radiates throughout the album. This expertly flows into the first single of the album, ‘Broken Man’, which has a defiant attitude that shines through both musically and lyrically.


If All Born Screaming was a painting, Clark would be using different types of media and brilliant colours to create this masterpiece. With ‘Flea’, Clark delivers an ironically infectious melody that belies the song’s darker undertones that lean into the disgusting and anthropomorphic experience of a parasite.

This leads us into ‘Big Time Nothing’ ventures into electro-funk territory with eclectic jazz-like style and irresistible hooks. ‘Violent Times’ doubles down on the dark, end-of-the-world vibe, with Clark’s silky smooth vocal contrasting over thunderous percussion and horns.  The road to the end of times continues in ‘The Power’s Out’, where she paints a vivid picture of apocalyptic despair, juxtaposing images of everyday life with a creeping sense of dread – humbling us with the chorus “the power’s out / no one can save us now / no one can blame us now / that the power’s out”.

Yet, amidst the darkness, there is also a sense of hope and resilience. In the album’s title track, Clark along with Cate Le Bon celebrates the vitality of life itself, embracing the chaos and noise of existence with open arms. When we are born, screaming is seen as a joyous sign of life but somewhere along the way society tries to convince us we need to be quiet and fall in line, a concept which this song proves Clark refuses to accept.

All Born Screaming is a testament to St. Vincent’s boundless creativity and uncompromising vision. With its creepy, otherworldly yet deeply human soundscape created through meticulous production, daring experimenting and evocative storytelling, the album represents a bold step forward for an artist who continues to push the boundaries of her craft. If it makes you feel like you’re tripping, that could be a lingering side effect of Clark’s personal forage into micro-dosing psychedelics prior to this album’s creation.

Whether you’re a longtime fan or a newcomer to St. Vincent’s music, All Born Screaming is an essential listen that demands to be experienced in all its glory.