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Album: Visions

Artist: Grimes

Label: 4AD

Release Date: February 21, 2012

4 ½ / 5 Stars


Grimes, a.k.a. Claire Boucher, is a singer and producer out of Montreal. She is becoming increasingly well known for her unique brand of synth-pop. She just released her third full-length in only two years, Visions, and the buzz surrounding Boucher is rapidly mounting as she tours the country.

This is for good reason, because on this record Boucher seamlessly blends experimental electronic music with dance pop and high-pitched melodies. Think Crystal Castles meets Maria Carey. Her silky vocals echo and resonate over sweeping productions that borrow from various areas of electronic music, yet this collection of songs is still decidedly her own.

Two singles, “Genesis” and “Oblivion,” begin the record. They wonderfully establish the lush, familiar atmosphere of Visions. “Genesis” builds upon a simple pulse with various intertwined vocal parts and a steadily evolving beat comparable to work from Aphex Twin. It is a well-crafted song that showcases Boucher’s understanding of pop music.

The second single off the album, “Oblivion,” is a pop masterpiece that beats you over the head with about 20 hooks in less than 4 minutes. It is undoubtedly the defining track of the album, and will likely show up on many end-of-year lists as 2012 comes to a close.

The music video for “Oblivion” is just as magical as the song itself. Shots of Boucher singing at a packed homecoming football game and motocross arena accompany the song oddly well, contrasting the femininity of Boucher’s beats with traditional masculinity.

One will instantly notice how Boucher’s lyrics are almost entirely incomprehensible, but this fact does not take away from the immediacy of her words. The listener never loses touch with the emotion Boucher suggests on these recordings. Although she doesn’t easily present them to the audience, we still get a sense of how deliberately the lyrics were chosen.

Unfortunately and unsurprisingly, this is no perfect record. The second half drags a bit, as some of the songs are flat in comparison to the first half. The full album clocks in at almost 50 minutes, making one wonder if it could have used some trimming. Nevertheless, a few of the slower tracks may surprise you on repeat listens due to Boucher’s relentless production work and churning beats.

The sophistication of Visions seems to be masterminded by an artist much more mature than Boucher’s 23 years. It will be interesting to see what lies ahead for her as an artist as she and her music continue to mature.


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