Grimes – Visions (4AD)

Visions is described by the record label as “a phantasmic state for the deep listener, sourcing the long forgotten spells running alongside humans for centuries and forcing them through a hyper-futuristic filter”. The PR might be a bit rubbish, but this 12-track album from prolific artist Grimes (aka Claire Boucher) is anything but.

The 24 year old has already had run-ins with the police (who impounded her houseboat) and Montreal’s McGill University (who kicked her out), but she’s found her niche with her unique brand of, um, mystic industrial squelch pop? Visions is her fourth release in two years and it sounds as though the songwriter and producer is here to stay.

First track Infinite Love Without Fulfillment sets the tone with layers of squeaky and seductive vocals weaving over robotic beats and pulsating synths. The poppy Genesis is currently getting a fair thrashing on 95bFM, along with the catchy Oblivion. There are hints of Blondie, tints of Eurythmics and shades of Madonna about the album, particularly in the tracks Vowels = Space And Time and Be a Body where Boucher’s light and clear voice runs over poppy beats faster than Madge runs to her dumbbells. The refreshing combination of the pure, poppy voice and the sexy but smart industrial aesthetic is what makes Grimes something special. (A small Grimes gripe – by the end of the album Boucher’s high, modulating Carey-esque squeal has perhaps been used one too many times.)

The overall tone is of Visions is mournful, yearning and hopeful. It’s futuristic yet ancient. It ventures into dark territory but seems wholesome at heart. Ok, maybe whoever wrote her promo sheet was onto something after all.

Kathryn van Beek

Click here to listen to Genesis from Visions