Between established stars Austra and Zola Jesus and spritely up and comers Charli XCX and Maria Minerva the market for female fronted, 80s inspired, spectral avante-pop is entirely oversaturated. Despite this, Vancouver’s Claire Boucher, aka Grimes, has never struggled to differentiate herself. Building on the success of Visions and Halifaxa, the less immediate Visions may sport a faye veneer but it only serves to conceal a deeply intricate and willfully unpredictable gem.
Taken as a whole Visions is a patchwork of slight fleeting melodies, chunky bass, noodling late-70s electronics, brazen early 80s synths, and wonderfully scatty blasts of vocal and emotional intensity. In isolation Visions is home to some of the most serenely beautiful, and strangely effecting, pop songs around. Key ballads “Be A Body” and the startlingly “Skin” provide the standouts moments, offering a level of poignancy the shimmer star of “Vanessa” once seemed incapable of mustering.
Ultimately, this album will ensure its place in the world’s hearts not on back of its staggering ballads, but because of its endearing quirks and unexpected departures, like the magnificent Madonna on morphine take on 90s R’n’B “Vowels = Space And Time”. In Visions Grimes has fashioned a masterfully deceptive outpouring of 80s inspired creativity, overflowing with natural charisma and dynamism. David Hayter