DAVID BYRNE & ST. VINCENT play the Queen Elizabeth Theatre on September 20. See listing. Rating: NNNN
When word first spread that David Byrne and St. Vincent were collaborating on a brass band album, we got very excited about the idea of the two lovable weirdos getting together in the studio. We were initially a bit disappointed by what seemed like lighthearted - and lightweight - conceptual funk. Expectations can mess with your experience of art, though, and Love This Giant is the kind of album that improves greatly with each listen.
There is a slightly goofy quality to the whole thing that doesn't conform to our preconceptions of serious music, and that might be the point. The pair sound like they're having a great time, and you can practically see them winking at each other when tracks take unexpected left turns. That sense of fun is what you notice first, and it makes the album much more accessible than anything we imagined coming out of the experiment. But the alien textures of St. Vincent's guitar heroics and the crunchy electronic rhythms lurching behind the trombones and sax stabs keep things just on the right side of gleefully weird.
Top track: Lazarus