Grimes – Visions
There’s a tale floating around the internet about Canadian indie-electronica songstress Claire Boucher (aka Grimes); that in 2009 she and her then-boyfriend built a 20 foot houseboat to sail down the Mississippi River.
According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Grimes planned to bring chickens, a typewriter and a sewing machine onto the brightly-painted vessel, but was stopped after engine trouble and a run-in with police.
With her third album Visions now out, Grimes has had more success with another form of construction.
As ambitious and chaotic as the houseboat plan but far more polished, Visions is an eccentric and infectious record.
Schizophrenic opening track Infinite Love Without Fulfilment jumps straight in with a catchy hook as Grimes grabs hold of your eardrums and wraps her beats around them.
Boucher’s vocals are dreamy, hovering just above your eardrums while her pulsating rhythms make it to your dancing feet.
Oblivion is an ethereal track with vocal harmonies that almost sparkle.
There’s also a darker, ghostly appeal there with a mesmerising and warped backing track creating a weirdly mournful feel before leading into the most challenging track of the album Eight (which is a quick and disorienting blend of sounds).
Visions is infectious and instantly accessible, but with a very original approach.
The music world is awash with indie female soloists, so Grimes’ brand of dance is a refreshing change.
This is a clever record. With tracks like Be a Body, Grimes uses her heavily digital sound to express an intense interest in humanity in an electronic world.
“Soft skin, you touch me with it so I know I can be human once again” she hauntingly sings on Skin as her girlish, vulnerable falsetto vocals are juxtaposed against a trance of synth beats, bringing up questions of the relationship between humans and the dominance of machines.
Visions is like a prophecy of a robotic post-cyber-apocalyptic world, constructed from a mixed bag of samples, synth beats and looping falsetto vocals.
The repetitive sampling of Visions became a bit tedious in the record’s 48 minute run time, but Grimes has enough substance to grab your attention longer than the average dance artist.
Boucher is savvy in layering her instantly infectious beats with an ethereal, ghostly aesthetic. Without the sugary sweetness of manufactured pop, Visions is edgy enough to be more than just a dance record.
Full of pop references and easily danceable, Visions is a catchy and exhilarating trip into a cleverly constructed world.
Standout tracks: Infinite Love Without Fulfillment, Oblivion, Be a Body
Summary: Throwing a bunch of pop references in a blender and spitting out a chaotic vision of a cyber future, Grimes leads the way on a hauntingly catchy journey. Visions gets a little repetitive with a certain sameness to the electronic beats, but it has a lot more substance than the average dance record. Grimes’ third album is infectious and easy to like.