Who knew you could deploy tactics in music, and those tactics could be brass? In an every day sense, brass tactics could be those deployed to push someone into something, but here, on David Byrne and St. Vincent’s latest EP, when push comes to shove, it’s easy to enjoy. After a tour of North America and Australia, Brass Tactics is a follow-on (as opposed to a follow-up) to Love This Giant, and a taste of what concertgoers can expect if they catch this act on tour.
The EP features the previously unreleased album track “Cissus”, a delicate vocal with industrial noise and distinctive French horn. It also offers remixes of “I Should Watch TV” and “Lightning”. The former is a crafty piece of Byrne neuroticism about identity, in which the protagonist admits that the reason he used to watch TV was to “find out what folks were thinking”. The funky “Lightning” is equally at odds with the world as St Vincent wonders about nature cutting her home in half. The surge of noisy guitar on the live version of “Marrow” reinforces the disparity between a disconnected melody and the connected body.
Finally, do we need another live version of “Road to Nowhere”? Yes, we probably do. This interpretation is a brassy harmonious hymn to sing in a holy church of Quirkdom. Byrne & St Vincent are out there, and it’s a beautiful place to be.