Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Grimes: "Visions" (album review)

Lot's of ideas and lots of talent have helped Grimes put together a compelling new album.  The Montrealer (aka Clare Boucher) releases her new record Visions on February 21st.

Grimes' songs are constructed by grabbing elements from multiple genres and influences and dropping them on top of each other or weaving them together.  There's an obvious R&B influence throughout (the groove of opener "Infinite Love Without Fullfilment" is positively infectious), as well as healthy nods to '80s techno pop (the intro to "Oblivion" even sounds like it's lifted from Revenge Of The Nerds).

There's a modern touch to the music as well.  "Eight", for example, boasts a cacophony of sounds that stops just shy of Sleigh Bells territory.  "Symphonia IX (My Wait Is U)" has you drifting off on a dream pop cloud.

Boucher's vocals add the final touch.  She has a seemingly endless range, going effortlessly from a hush to a piercing call on "Genesis".  Thankfully, unlike contemporary R&B artists, she has the sense to never overdo it.

Sometimes though, the layers become a little too overwhelming.  A bit of editing and restraint would help prevent tracks like "Circumambient" from becoming confused, muddled messes.

When things click, like on the affected perky R&B-inspired number "Vision= Space and Time", the results are gripping.  You can say it's what tUnE-yArDs would sound like if they had any sense of rhythm.

One thing you can say about Grimes, is that there really isn't anyone like her.

Grimes plays the Horseshoe Tavern in Toronto on March 19th.

Best tracks: "Infinite Love Without Fullfilment", "Vowels= Space And Time"

Track listing for Visions:
  • Infinite Love Without Fulfillment
  • Genesis
  • Oblivion
  • Eight
  • Circumambient
  • Vowels= Space and Time
  • Visiting Statue
  • Be A Body
  • Colour Moonlight (Antiochus)
  • Symphonia IX (My Wait Is U)
  • Nightmusic
  • Skin
  • Know The Way

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