Self-proclaimed ex-goth Clare Boucher, better known as producer and singer-songwriter Grimes, (or not, if you are a Tumblr user, as the ‘Grimes’ tag is inundated with irritable Jedward paraphernalia) is an intriguing character. For a start she owns neither a phone nor an iPod, which in this day and age is probably grounds for institutionalisation. Boasting an assortment of influences, which includes everyone from Beyoncé to Black Dice (QRO photos), Boucher herself is genre defying. Her music is an amalgamation of witch-house pop, psychedelic rave and atmospheric bass, but is simultaneously none of the above. Intrigued yet?
Visions is Grimes’ fourth release in less than two years, having previously released two free LPs and a joint EP with fellow Montrealer D’Eon. For those of you who believe in quality over quantity, don’t let that put you off; her prolific output has by no means hindered this album. Her first release since being signed to record label 4AD at the beginning of this year, Visions is a creative cacophony of sound that perfectly captures Grimes’ evolution since her initial break in early 2010. Visual impact is an important aspect of this album, not just in its title, but also in its ethos: Boucher has declared that each track will have its own music video, one that she envisioned in each track’s creative process.
The tracks themselves are dark, but uplifting at the same time. “Genesis” sounds like a result of leaving Enya in a recording studio with nothing but a drum machine, a keyboard, and a tab of LSD: a tripping eruption of synth and incomprehensible lyrics. The album encompasses a diversity of sound, an ethereal journey which varies between tracks such as “Eight”, 108 seconds of a heavy Germanic sounding reverb loop, to “Skin”, a six-minute seduction of downtempo, sultry goodness. Boucher’s haunting falsetto often sounds like a chorus of children, a stunning sound that although is not powerful, is not drowned out by the production. Instead, it supports her vocal, a harmony that no doubt has come from Grimes producing, writing and singing all the tracks herself. Visions is a mystical experience, an album that should be listened from start to finish without pause, a snapshot of the workings of Boucher’s brilliantly creative mind that certainly has so much more waiting to burst from it.
MP3 Stream: “Skin“