Review: Grimes – Visions
Published on March 15th, 2012 | Jonny Abrams
“In 2009, Boucher and her then-boyfriend from Tennessee constructed a 20-foot houseboat, named the Velvet Glove Cast in Iron, with the intention to sail it down the Mississippi River from Minneapolis to New Orleans. The cargo included chickens, a typewriter, 20 pounds of potatoes and a gifted copy of Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Boucher and her companion adopted the names Varuschka and Zelda Xox for the trip. Due to engine trouble and subsequent harassment from the Minnesota police, the journey was cut short and the houseboat and chickens were impounded.”
Don’t know about you, but that certainly piqued Rocksucker’s interest in this Vancouver-born, Montreal-based lassie. Indeed, she’s been garnering quite the media presence of late, attracting many an admirer with Visions, her third album’s worth of ethereal, slightly peculiar electro-pop.
Claire Boucher, to call her by her real name, boasts a delicious, floaty-light helium voice that weaves on Visions more melodic shapes than on its predecessor Halfaxa, while the pulsing, frequently disorienting electro backing tracks sound in places like a more streamlined, ’80s pop-infused take on Aphex Twin’s Richard D. James Album; and although it can be hard to make out exactly what she’s singing about, her wispy, pink-lace vocals decorate the album like a lovingly gift-wrapped robot.
The synth lines take a starring role too, ranging from the stark gurgling of “Circumambient” to the felty stabs of “Be a Body”; elsewhere, the alluring plastic strings, pulsing rhythm and eerie whispering of “Nightmusic” (featuring Majical Clouds) conjure a Ladytron sort of vibe, “Skin” comes over all nocturnally breakbeat-y, “Know the Way” provides a spot of gently atmospheric respite, and closer “Christmas Song” (featuring Jay Worthy) brings down the curtain in unexpectedly ominous fashion.
Titles such as “Vowels = Space and Time” and “Colour of Moonlight (Antiochus)” reveal an agreeably eccentric mind, and it would be nice to see this channelled more into her overall sound, which veers ever-so-slightly too close to insubstantial catwalk chic to be truly outstanding. Still, Visions should come as an eye and ear-opener for anyone who finds themselves bored to tears by Florence et al; this is colourful, satisfying and well put together, but we suspect that there’s better yet to come from Grimes.
Rocksucker says: Seven-and-a-Half Quails out of Ten!