Album Review: Grimes - Visions

If this is your first introduction to this strange and invigorating Canadian artist, Grimes is a name you should get used to. 2012 will be 23 year old Claire Boucher’s breakout year. Her new album, Visions, came out Tuesday on 4AD Records, and she is currently touring in support of it. Unfortunately, she already passed through Seattle, playing a show at Sunset Tavern on Monday. It sold out overnight.

Visions is the third full length album by Grimes. Her first two albums, both from 2010, were released on Arbutus Records. Her first album, Geidi Primes, drew song titles from Frank Herbert’s classic sci-fi novel Dune. She samples Mozart’s “Requiem” on Visions. Grimes is a spastic, kaleidoscope journey through one artist’s “post-Internet” brain, and quite a memorable one at that.

In interviews with Pitchfork and other sources, Grimes can’t deny her love for pop stars and her desire to be one. Her favorite singer (and undoubtedly one of her larger vocal influences) is Mariah Carey, due to the fact that her vocal range is impossible to nail down to one interval. Grimes emulates that style, and with every other track, her voice goes in a different direction at a different octave with a different filter. Much of the melodies in her tracks are swirling piles of vocal loops that surround all the other noise in her tracks. Underneath the odd assortment of samples, instruments, and occasional robot voices, the pop formula is still evident in Claire’s songwriting. The melodies in songs like “Infinite Love Without Fulfillment” and “Oblivion” have an undeniably new wave feel about them. Others, like “Eight” and “Circumambient” feel a lot more like 90s experimental electronica, a la Bjork or (another of her named influences) Aphex Twin. Still others feel contemporary and even futuristic.

This hodgepodge plays directly into the thematic motif of Grimes’ music. She describes herself as “post-Internet” - a saturated sponge of cultural and historical influence, without an attention span and without any filters or linearity. This alone would be the perfect description of Grimes, albeit it says nothing about her musical style. But just like the Internet and its grandiose sense of eclecticism, Grimes has something to offer almost anyone. Visions is all over the place and not exactly the smoothest listen front to back. But then again, it’s not meant to be, and the diamonds you’ll find along the way will just have you coming back for more.

Go grab Visions at your local record store today. It is the best introduction to Grimes and may even entice you enough to check out her older material. Listen to Visions tracks “Genesis” and “Oblivion” below:

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