Thursday, June 7, 2012

Album Review: Grimes – “Visions”

Ethereal Pop, Electro Pop, Experimental Pop, and Dream Pop are all things that Canadian (woo!) singer-songwriter Grimes has been called. Out of all of them, I feel like “ethereal” is the best way to describe her newest release, Visions. This album is a swirling soundscape of sickly sweet singing (Yay alliterations!).

When I saw this album cover, I thought Grimes was an 80s Crossover Thrash band. Boy, was I ever wrong.

There’s not much in the way of instrumentation here, just layers upon layers of Grimes’ voice over electronic percussion, buzzing synth, and the occasional set of piano chords. When I say “layers upon layers” I mean “layers upon layers”. Sometimes she’s got half a dozen vocal tracks bouncing and swishing around at once, each one ladled with reverb and echo, just to fuck with your mind that much more. Grimes’ voice can also shift between different styles relatively well, going between a vulnerable shy voice, to a wailing high pitched one, to an almost Eastern sounding one, and everything in between.

Although personally I really like Grimes’ voice (which often floats around the falsetto range), I can see where some might hate it. Sometimes she has an almost J-Pop sounding voice, and I know a lot of people who really can’t stand that style of singing. One other thing that some people might not be huge fans of is that most of her lyrics are unintelligible, lost under all the compounded tracks and effects, or there aren’t any lyrics at all. Large portions of Visions is crammed full of long, drawn out oooooooohs and aaaaaaaaahs instead of actual words. Since I don’t find lyrics to be a make-or-break thing for music, it doesn’t bother me one bit that I have no idea what her songs are about.

Grimes could probably double as a member of Behemoth. I mean, they're both practically the same type of music, right?

The only thing that brings this album down for me is the lack of variation overall. Although Visions is an incredibly interesting and new experience for me musically, when all 13 tracks form a 47ish minute ocean of mid-tempo beats and reverb-heavy singing and synth, it tends to give you a bit of a déja-vu feeling by the end of it.

Bomb-Ass Tracks

Infinite Love Without Fulfillment: The first track on Visions bombards you with the first salvo of Grimes' overlaid vocals. Also, dat chord progression change at 0:45. First time I heard it, hairs stood up on my neck.

Genesis: With an infectious beat that makes you want to do this and a playful synth line that instantly brings thoughts of Eastern cultures, this track makes you feel a type of care-free happy that not many other songs do.

Vowels = Space and Time: Probably the most accessible song on the album. I can see this track being featured on the radio or played on a venue's PA system between band's sets. It's the most straightforward song with the most intelligible lyrics, so I like to think it could be a real crowd pleaser.

On a Playlist With: Björk, Sleep Party People, Alcest

Overall Score


This was a really cool and refreshing album to listen to, especially since over the past couple days I’ve been listening to lots and lots of Black Breath, Dying Fetus, and Aborted (Global Flatline review coming whenever I feel like it). It’s great music to focus in on and lose yourself in (THE MUSIC, THE MOMENT// YOU OWN IT// YOU BETTER NEVER LET IT GO, OH// YOU ONLY GET ONE SHOT// DO NOT MISS YOUR CHANCE TO BLOW// CAUSE OPPORTUNITY COMES ONCE IN A LIFETIME, YO [Sorry, I had to.]) and also doubles as great music that sits in the background while you work or just derp around. I have a feeling that Visions might end up growing on me over time, and I might even review it again if I feel like it deserves a re-evaluation.

That’s all for now, folks. Keep being Awesome.

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