Jan 30, 2012 Issue #39 - Best of 2011
Claire Boucher, the sole-proprietor of Grimes, is billing Visions as her first “real” album—coming a year after a few extraneous curiosities and flashes of interest. Defined by a needling, artificial voice and rickety electronics, 2011 has been very good for the project, harnessing an escalating amount of blog-talk and scoring an opening slot for her art-pop commercial superior, Lykke Li.
But Visions isn’t as much of an evolution as it is an elongation; Boucher is still making warped, sparsely-populated electro-pop, and the potential still outweighs the content. When she does strike something meaningful, such as the coldly cascading “Oblivion” or the mulching rave-throwback “Night Music,” it seems as if she’s finally gotten a hold of herself and her ‘vision.’ But there’s too much clutter—screechy, artless, unmoving clutter—sometimes arbitrarily loud and groove-less (“Circumambient”), sometimes too peculiar to have a pulse (“Eight”). There’s enough promise here to hope for the future, maybe with a heftier budget or some added maturity, but Visions stands as a half-formed concept. There’s a moment on “Symphonia IX” where her voice peeks past the must with a beautiful “I would say yes.” She’s concentrated, the song’s intentions are clear, and it’s tantalizing imagining that concentration kept up for a whole record. (www.myspace.com/boucherville)
Author rating: 5/10
Average reader rating: 8/10