In a recent interview, Montreal based songwriter Claire Boucher – aka Grimes – described her music as being “post internet”. Ostentatious to a level of pretention, perhaps, but ultimately, she’s wrong – her sound is entirely ‘in-internet’, wholly current, yet at the same time swathed in countless influences, throw backs and allusions, musical and otherwise. Although notably hard to describe in terms of genre – there’s no obvious label you can put on her, or box you can stick her in – terms such as futurist-electro, art and dream pop surface frequently, and she is defiantly pop, more Gaga than How To Dress Well, closer to J-Lo than Grizzly Bear, and though she retains all the indie integrity of the latter bands, there is nothing impenetrable about her music.
The thirteen tracks on Visions may be structurally unconventional – four of the songs are under two minutes long, one is more than six – but the melodies are anything but. Singles ‘Oblivion’ and ‘Genesis’, full of sparkling synths, big beats and pounding bass, would comfortably fit into Radio 1’s A list. What Grimes manages to do so well though, is shift these aforementioned bass heavy synth sections directly into a graceful piano line, or a hushed vocal or sole drum beat, and then weave them back up into massive electro-pop conclusions, without one bit of it sounding out of place.
Boucher both loops and layers her vocals, then drenches them in reverb; and the effect is such that it sounds as if her high, falsetto voice isn’t quite there. Especially since it’s on rare occasions that what she sings is in any way comprehensible. On opener ‘Infinite Love Without Fulfilment’, she layers an – almost gothic – vocal harmony under a bubblegum pop “I will leave you, if you want to”. The refrain of ‘Be A Body’ uses distorted vocals in place of synth, coalescing with the actual synth parts to add waves of airy depth to a pulsating rhythm section.
Visions is, at the same time, in no way consistent, but very cohesive – Grimes has crafted herself an entirely distinct sound from all number of conflicting influences, maybe more post-genre than post-internet.
Released on 12th March 2012 by 4AD