Grimes – Visions – Album Review

Grimes will be in Bristol playing the Simple Things Festival in May. Her new album Visions was released in the UK yesterday on 4AD and we gave it a listen…

Trying to keep track of the influences as you listen to Visions – Claire Boucher’s third release as Grimes, and her first on 4AD – is hard work. To try to sum it up in a sentence, it’s experimental psychedelic-punk-pop with some almost dubstep griminess but also hints of 90s dance and the occasional bit of 80s synth.

The album jarringly starts on an off-beat and we dive straight into the layered, looping vocals and repetitive bass notes of short (1:35) opening track Infinite Love Without Fulfillment. The tracks that then follow feel very much that they have been placed in order and we are taken on a journey back and forth through 30 years of musical reference points. Indeed, with all the influences that are mixed together in various proportions with each new track, it’s hard not to find yourself trying to match basslines and melodies to what’s gone before – Genesis feels like a La Roux track with vocals by Enya while later track Be A Body could almost be a remix of Olive’s You’re Not Alone (which itself would sound like dubstep if sped up with some extra bass) and Colour of Moonlight is instantly and openly reminiscent of Prince’s When Doves Cry.

Despite the slightly mad mish-mash of influences this still feels very current – indeed with the dubstep influence and the combination of 80s electro with some contemporary beats (and the corresponding attention deficit), there’s a risk that Grimes will be tarred with the accusation of pandering to hipsters – but this is an album packed full of aural interest and ideas and actually many of the tracks somehow feel both nostalgic and futuristic, like the music from an 80s sci-fi film.

Here’s the video for new single Oblivion which is pretty fun…