Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Grimes- Visions- album review (release date March 12th)

I've been listening to Grimes for a while now and finally, she's making waves both sides of the Atlantic. This seems to have been down mostly to the great video ‘Vanessa’ from the EP last year ‘Darkbloom’ that earned her some well deserved blog recognition along with the quieter re-release of 2010’s Geidi Primes that I just love. 

So finally, Visions is here, well almost, for now it can be streamed online in all its beauty, a mark of how the music industry has changed over the last decade or so that you can do this before the official release.

After touring with Austra and now rumoured to be doing a track with Creep and promises of a making videos for every track off of Visions, Claire Boucher is clearly an artist who will churn out more treats.  All to come via visual, sound and artwork that already graces her many haunts online; a new and fearless talent that at the end of last year, I was really wanting to make a mark in 2012 and it looks so soon in, she already is.

So the album kicks off with ‘Infinite Love Without Fulfilment’, characteristically layered vocals and instrumentation that are her signature, effortlessly carrying across her range and influences as more of an introduction before going into 'Genesis', an absolute favourite of mine that echoes much of Geidi Primes in energy, sparkling synths and strong bass that hooks up beautifully with an oriental sound and rolling piano. What she seems to achieve repeatedly is very busy tunes that keep up momentum without jarring, individual and surprising in places without glitchy overkill.

‘Oblivian’ was the first single released and admittedly took a few listens for me, I think mostly as you can hear her love of certain RNB divas coming through in places but once you get over that, its another strong track. ‘Eight’ is a shorter track with slightly bonkers robotic voices, giving it an air of ‘lost in my own spaced out world’; very reminiscent of pioneering electro sounds but stamped with Boucherville. ‘Circumambient’ has a distinctly harder NIN intro and industrial start lightened with Claire’s vocals which you would kind of think shouldn’t work but blends with a strange almost girlish cheerleader air underlining what could sound like Mariah Carey being strangled; it works, trust me.

‘Vowels =Space and Time’ has a disco ball glow about it, all quite poppy but not, again with an edge of busy. ‘Visiting Statue’ starts a little more tribal with resounding beats and drum heaviness, her vocals a little lower showing off a range and pitch that is quite unmatched in its diversity over an album. The gorgeous layering in quite a succinct tune made me want more of it if I’m honest and undoubtedly will be another favourite that will go on repeat. ‘Be A Body’ initially reminded me of ‘Vanessa’ at first but again was full of instrumental surprises throughout and some fellow Canadian Austra percussive.

‘Colour Moonlight’ (Antiochus) is just lovely and has a touch of Prince’s  ‘When Doves Cry’ threading through showing how Grimes pulls influences from mainstream and maybe ‘not so’ in her unique cauldron of harmonies and resonating chatter. Symphonia IX (My Wait is U) starry intro and low intonation begins and is raised gently through a scale of music leaving you wondering quite where she starts when putting it all together. Her tracks bring the oddest of musical recollections at times from way back and current; with this one, there is a Depeche Mode feel in the latter half of the track but again her vocals dominate so that it could be missed. Or do they? Every part of the track dominates yet seems not to, at one point, you can even hear Cindy Lauper’s ‘Girls Just Wanna Have Fun’ fleetingly. All very unusual in a good way.

‘Nightmusic’ was my must listen all over New Year albeit a live version, it’s just perfection and the album version is slightly tweaked and buzzes a little more, it would be impossible not to like this one even if some of the tracks could be tagged with an acquired taste. ‘ Nightmusic’ ends with a quite lovely orchestral feel.

‘Skin’ bounces in quite unexpectedly and softer vocalising draws you in seductively, ignoring any kind of formulaic signature and taking you away with its charm; comeliness on first listen, it builds and builds and stands out in an album of tough competition of stand out tracks. Whispering allure to its end, you definitely feel the urge to put it straight back on.

The whole thing ends with ‘Know The Way’ and seems to wind down the album beautifully; a brilliant piece of work but having been loving the teasers for a few weeks now, it’s not surprising, yet it is. Grimes seduces, enchants, woos and bewilders and you would be equally as bonkers to pass this new talent by.  Simply lovelovelove Visions.  

Stream here : First Listen: Grimes Visions

Related Link:
Interview on Pitchfork


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