Grimes
Visions


4.5
superb

Review

by Conrad Tao EMERITUS
January 27th, 2012 | 1535 replies | 72,454 views


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Spacey, hypnotic parallel-universe pop, and so much more.

When Claire Boucher calls her music "post-Internet", she isn't just conjuring up some vague, trendy-sounding descriptor. No, Grimes - born of an age that grew up alongside the emojis of message boards and public confessionals of LiveJournal - really means it. And although Visions, which Boucher considers a "real" debut, doesn't draw elements from web media as directly as, say, Elite Gymnastics' Ruin, it is clearly the product of an imagination liberated by the Internet's catch-all quality. Sonically cohesive yet musically promiscuous, the album is Post for the YouTube generation, establishing a solid artistic identity through - not in spite of - its inability to stay still.

This is what most sets Visions apart from its predecessors. Both Geidi Primes and Halfaxa were solid releases, but their scatterbrained nature made for a strangely aimless listen; Boucher's good instincts and strong ideas shrouded by her well-crafted fog. Here, all that changes; the basslines slither about with propulsion and intent, the diverse beats click with almost-urgency, and Boucher's voice is layered on top. And oh, what a voice it is, girlishly alien and ageless in its high range and subtly expressive in more subdued moments. Like those of new labelmate Gang Gang Dance's frontwoman Lizzie Bougatsos, Boucher's pipes are chameleonic yet immediately distinguishable, a facet she uses great effect on songs like "Visiting Statue", which finds her voice serving as both a childlike chant and a more grounded force. When pitch-shifting, so ubiquitous as a shortcut to obnoxious faux-bot posturing, turns Boucher's vocals into tinny impersonality, as on the minimal "Colour of Moonlight (Antiochus)", it's as if Grimes' universe is briefly only visible through a cracked window from a thousand unspecific units away. Or maybe as an ASCII drawing.

Which is to say that Visions often feels suspended in the best way possible, both in time and space. The copious amounts of reverb augment this effect, but purposefully (and artfully, but you already knew that), avoiding the detachment that screwed Ernest Greene over last year and the drab pleasantries of so much recent Balearic pop. The album's most thoughtful cut, "Skin", coats Boucher's voice in atmospherics and proceeds to compress the shit out of it, but towards its end, Boucher takes the detritus of her own voice and gives it a volume knob of its own. The byproduct of the product becomes sentient; suddenly, to swim in vast pools of sound is not a hypnagogic experience but a visceral and joyful one. Studio magic no longer sets the aesthetic - it is the aesthetic. And although Visions feels too light (but not lightweight) to indicate intentions on Boucher's part to create a record of capital-S Significance, ignoring Visions' considerable weight as a fully formed work of art discredits her achievement.

To take the irony-laden, eye-popping, knowingly shallow, and resolutely DIY philosophy defining All, Everyone, United and its ilk and imbue it with musical focus is no small feat. The whole worldview is there. Unabashed pop appreciation? Check. A penchant for outsider art? Yep - take a look at that album cover. But - this is crucial - these signifiers are just signifiers, not substitutes for the final product. Worldliness doesn't impress unless there is something of consequence to be said; the snippet of Mozart's Requiem that opens "Nightmusic" grants the song no additional legitimacy. Visions gets by (and then some) not on the strength of its trendily distracted tendencies, but by Boucher's natural gift for writing an earworm. So the occasionally affected touches (using Japanese characters for "humble simplicity" as a subtitle for the otherwise fantastic "Be A Body", calling the album's intro "Infinite ♡ Without Fulfillment") are forgivable offenses when considering the sheer effortlessness of the music. And although Boucher has made it quite clear that her words are not really designed to be heard, first single "Oblivion" neatly sums up the combination of nervousness and ecstasy that is the crux of her excellence: "I need someone now to look into my eyes and tell me girl you know you gotta watch your health." Both an assertive and cautious invitation, the line is indicative of a single essential fact: Grimes is not going to show her cards. Well, thank goodness for that.



Recent reviews by this author
Sufjan Stevens All Delighted PeopleBeyonce Beyonce
Kanye West YeezusGatekeeper Exo
Azealia Banks FantaseaLaurel Halo Quarantine
user ratings (525)
Chart.
3.7
great
other reviews of this album
derho (4.5)
A spectre is haunting dance music......

mrbloke (4)
See you on a dark night....

LudditeStereo (4.5)
A sonic horn of plenty from Pluto...


Comments:Add a Comment 
conradtao
Emeritus
January 26th 2012



2088 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Done.

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
January 26th 2012



15727 Comments


orly mr conrad? you seem to have more of an appetite for this kind of thing than me, but I'm intrigued. reading the review now

Digging: Joyce Manor - Never Hungover Again

MisterTornado
Contributing Reviewer
January 26th 2012



4507 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Feeling some Rugrats nostalgia with that doo-da keyboard effect on the second half of Oblivion.

pizzamachine
January 26th 2012



12571 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Review is better than the album. Good job!

fuckthatnoise
January 26th 2012



1479 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

yeah i fucking hated the vocals on this.

AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
January 26th 2012



7314 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I like the sound of this

joshuatree
Emeritus
January 26th 2012



3743 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

album has some bangers

Gyromania
January 26th 2012



15198 Comments


Yessssss Conrad. This album is incredible; the atmosphere pulls me right in and I simply can't get enough. Review is superb - I'll post mine whenever I can.

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
January 26th 2012



30873 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Rules, unsurprisingly

Digging: FaltyDL - In The Wild

sniper
January 26th 2012



18955 Comments


gonna check this out, fantastic review as they always are.

Digging: Towers - Bel Air Highrise Plantation

Acanthus
January 26th 2012



9537 Comments


Still trying to decide how/if post-Internet actually applies here.

Any help?

Digging: The Cure - The Head on the Door

Athom
Staff Reviewer
January 26th 2012



17197 Comments


I don't like this style of music in general and this doesn't change that.

Irving
Staff Reviewer
January 26th 2012



7140 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

So happy to see this review on here. Will read after work today.

PGST3
January 26th 2012



53 Comments


I'm pretty excited for this. I liked her Darkbloom split a lot and expected a building to that. All I've heard so far from this is Oblivion. Hopefully will be good. Sounds like I'll enjoy it from this review.

conradtao
Emeritus
January 27th 2012



2088 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

it's a wonderful album. leading the pack of 2012 so far

JJwins
January 27th 2012



641 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Love Grimes, this album was all I was expecting and more.

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
January 27th 2012



15727 Comments


the tone and, to some degree, the sound of this reminds me of braids

so yeah cool shit

MalleusMaleficarum
January 27th 2012



13780 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

picking this up now

klap
Staff Reviewer
January 27th 2012



10258 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

fo sho

Digging: The Bilinda Butchers - Heaven

JJwins
January 27th 2012



641 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

and she has a really, really fucking good voice. Wish she tuned out the electronics more and made a really stripped down album. Here's an example of how good her voice is by itself http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s7rM67NPhZ8



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2013 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy