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Sunday, 9 September 2012

Grimes - Visions

I'd been looking forward to giving this a listen since I bought it a couple of months ago, but to be honest I was slightly disappointed. It's definitely an acquired taste and if I'm being unkind it sounds like a particularly dirgy PJ Harvy album (is there another kind?) played at 45 rather than 33rpm. If I'm feeling more generous, it's intelligent background music that sounds much better in a large living room than in the confined space of the car, or worse still on your walkman.

However, just as every PJ Harvey review is peppered with the word 'dirge', so all Grimes reviews need a healthy smattering of the word 'ethereal'. The album is if nothing else 'ethereal'. Singer Claire Boucher sounds like a cross between an angel after taking a hefty drag of helium and an especially squeaky singing chihuahua with a lisp. This sounds pretty appealing I've got to say, but the whole production is backed with dirgy, Orbital style electronic beats and somehow distorts her voice to make it sound like a particularly high pitched instrument rather than a voice. It's a bit like that screeching James Brown sample Public Enemy used on Rebel without a Pause, but not in a good way.

Imagine anything quite ethereal like the Cocteau Twins, Lush or Enya, but played at 45rpm, add some warbling, and you get the idea. Don't be drawn in by the poppy charms of 'Oblivion' where Claire actually gets to sing properly, it stands alone as something you may want to listen to again. The rest of the album if much of a muchness and can be safely filed under a new category; 'Ethereal Dirge.'

Don't get me wrong, Grimes looks like a lovely person, she has a distinctive and unique voice and she makes decent videos. But none of her talents seem to have been exploited on this LP. Sack the backing group and team her up with the Infected Mushrooms and I promise you we'd be onto a winner. You heard the idea here first.



  1. I think I overplayed the album during spring (as background music), so now I'm not sure where it would rank on my year-end list...
    I mean I think it works for a while, but whether I'll be going back to this cd in 5 years I have my doubts about. The more I listen, the less I like it.
    Best track for me is: Symphony IX (My Wait Is U)

  2. Less dirgey than I was expecting once it got going but still pretty dirgey. It's a bit like olives. If they come on a salad I can eat them and quite enjoy them. But I wouldn't eat them by choice.