Grimes’ Visions – one of the albums of the year

Liana Gow-Killingbeck gets movin’ to the sweet sounds of Grimes:

The first time I heard the new Grimes album was a tad embarrassing. I decided I was going to listen to Canadian Claire Boucher’s third record, Visions, in the car whilst driving to the beach, you know, because there’s something rather awesome about cruising around town, windows down, to yummy new tunes. What I didn’t realise was the effect this bewitching record would have upon me and my poor, unsuspecting limbs.

As a dancer, I can’t help but react physically to music that captivates me, and Visions succeeded to do just that. Consequently, I found myself whipping out some crazy D-moves all the way into town; shoulder popping, head rolling, finger clicking fun, and boy did my imagination run wild (I envisioned myself dancing on the moon attired in alfoil with loads of aliens and robots surrounding me – quite a normal reaction, I’m sure).

This was fine until I realised that the car full of teenagers driving adjacent to me found my wacky physical interpretations to be just as amusing as the energetic songs themselves. Whooops-a-daisy.

Regardless, I continued to get my robot on. I was utterly besotted with the album, and there’s no shame involved when it comes to true love.

This is the way quirky electro-pop should be done, filled with delicious melodies, pulsating basslines and atmospheric vocals which seem almost extra-terrestrial. All the while producing a sense of hyperactive spontaneity. Super dooper refreshing for a pop album, is it not?

Compiled entirely by herself, this homemade masterpiece took its influence from an array of genres; RnB, dance, synth-pop, and witch house just to name a few. Visions was even compared to the likes of The Knife, the Cocteau Twins, Salem, Aaliyah and Prince. Quite the mixed bag of reference points really, but it does allow for one heck of an interesting combination.

Take the second song, Genesis. It’s a delightfully dreamy track with an almost oriental synth twang to it, and the layered vocals seem to blissfully sweep the listener into an unconscious stupor…totally genius. In Eight, the vibe created is entirely harsh and mechanical with a robotic beat teamed with sirens and shrilling vocals which could even challenge Alvin and the Chipmunks to a decent karaoke duel.

The RnB influence is more obvious in the following tracks, particularly in the standout Circumambient, which is ridiculously catchy and danceworthy, and Vowels = Space + Time, a very sensual track that really exhibits Boucher’s vocal range and playful side. The softest track, Skin, is the album’s most touching moment, “Soft skin, you touch me within and so I know I could be human once again”. It’s a tangibly romantic song which digs into an emotional area that’s both haunting and magical.

Grimes has pinned the tail right on the donkey for this one. Visions is undoubtedly my favourite release of the year so far. High freakin five.

Review by Liana Gow-Killingbeck.