I always have a hard time trying to describe groups like Grimes. For me, Visions lies somewhere between A Sunny Day in Glasgow and Apex Twin, or maybe it’s more along the lines of Fever Ray and Berlin (the 80’s band, not the country). Either way, it’s obvious that Claire Boucher, aka Grimes, has crafted her own unique sound, which at 23 is an accomplishment that far supersedes any accolades I could give this album.
Hailing from Montreal, Visions is Grimes’ third and most acclaimed album. There’s a certain “pop” feeling that’s stronger and more realized here than on her previous releases. Perhaps it’s the amalgamation of the various beats and sounds, or the amazing vocal range in which Boucher displays, which bring to mind the glitter-pop age of the 80’s. Songs like “Circumambient” and “Nightmusic” sound as if they came straight of a John Hughes movie, yet they, as well as every other song, sound perplexingly fresh.
Boucher has said that she approaches music the same way Phil Spector does; constantly creating and emulating different styles and making them her own. Boucher’s voice is the best weapon in her arsenal, and though most of her lyrics are pretty unintelligible, her climbing and sliding vocals are understood more universally than written words.
That being said, my favorite song on the album is undoubtedly “Skin”, not because of what she’s saying, but how I interpret what she’s saying. For me, the song’s about change, moving from one comfort to the next. It’s one of the most genuine songs on the album.
Visions is a record that is the product of the streaming age. There are so many different juxtaposed genres and styles in every song that it could only come from someone who has grown up being privy to a wide array of music. Boucher’s diverse appreciation of music, both past and present, is the centrifugal force on Visions, and perhaps the reason why the album has gained notoriety.