My Albums of 2012 – No. 10: Grimes ‘Visions’

grimes

It starts with a snap, then Claire Boucher’s (aka Grimes) just-the-right-side-of-piercing vocal kicks in and the layers of her voice begin to coquettishly interweave with each other. It’s an arresting opening salvo, which draws you straight into Boucher’s unsettling, yet blissed-up world.

A lot of indie and electronic music has, in recent years, adopted the ‘kitchen sink’ approach: throw in every idea and instrument possible, then lather it all reverb and “hey, presto!”, you’ve got a great review in Pitchfork! ‘Visions’ is refreshing in that there was space and a lightness of touch that gave the songs room to breathe. Yes, the reverb knob was often turned up to 11, but instead of overwhelming the songs, it gave them a lightness that, to paraphrase Alan Partridge, made you feel as if you were trapped inside a giant Aero.

Boucher may look like the archetypal walking haircut, who bangs on about loving Aaliyah and Destiny’s Child, whilst making unlistenable music that reviewers (and artists) insist on labelling “pop”*, but look beyond the wacky outfits and ‘Visions’ is very close to the real deal. You just don’t write songs as mesmerizing as ‘Genesis’ and ‘Oblivion’ without knowing your shit. Beyond these tracks, the was the brilliant weird’n’b of ‘Circumambient’ and the gloriously blissful, if ludicrously named, ‘Vowels = Space and Time’. By the end of the album, it felt like Boucher was running out of steam, but ‘Visions’ is very much the sound of someone really hitting their stride.

 

 

*I’ll put my hand up and say that I’m pretty certain I’ve been guilty of this. Sometimes you have to step away from the page, look at what you’ve written, listen to the music and think “no, I’m wrong, this is not pop, this is not something that lots of people will listen to, just fourteen chin-stroking men with beanies and beards”

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