Thursday 15 March 2012

Grimes - Visions

A few weeks ago, The Gizzle reviewed Genesis, the first release from the new Grimes album.  Now 'Visions' is finally here, straight from the bedroom of its creator Claire Boucher.

Her music has been described as 'ethereal-pop' - a perfect and succinct description in more ways than one.  The track titles alone give an indication as to the album's grand vision - Genesis, Oblivion, Circumambient and Vowels=Space and Time to name a few.  Of immediate impact is Boucher's vocal that drifts from Enya-esque incantations, to girlish J-pop schoolgirl, to Mariah-esque wailing that only dogs will hear.  Compare the upbeat pop of Genesis with the girlish inflections of Colour of Moonlight and the high-pitched squeaking of Skin. 

The production is sparsely textured yet full of detail, consisting mainly of infectious beats, synth basslines and melodies, and Boucher's vocal, yet somehow becoming more than the sum of its parts.  It's abstract in feeling and construction, yet retains a propensity for pop hooks that gives the album a sense of immediacy.  That this record was produced in Boucher's bedroom is prevalent - the production lacks polish, which nonetheless adds a rough extra dimension to the sound.

More so, 'Visions' has a pleasingly intangible, elusive quality.  Genesis and Oblivion are the obvious single choices at the start of the album - the former for its playful pentatonic melodies and heavily reverbed vocal, the latter for its squelching bass synths and moody feel as Boucher repeats "See you on a dark night".  As a whole, though, the songs sort of blur into a continuous haze of electronica, flitting through varying evocative states.  Moments of colour and fragments of melody will stick in your mind, yet at first listen these will pass you by.  This may seem frustrating (like opening track Infinite Love Without Fulfilment), but after perseverence the delights of 'Visions' slowly unfurl and then disappear, like trapping flower petals in a breeze.  Each press of the play button is like starting anew, each track a fresh revelation. 

After days of listening, more details have become apparent to me, yet I understand the album a little less.  This is the ethereal charm of 'Visions', an album of evocative and intangible beauty.


Gizzle's Choice:
* Genesis
* Oblivion
* Be A Body

Listen: 'Visions' is available now.

Watch: Grimes will be touring the UK in May.