A few days ago I got the long awaited Grimes CD "Visions" in my mailbox, with her now signature style of crazy, creepy black and white drawings gracing the cover art. Originally it was to come out January 31st, but big time indie label 4AD decided to sign her, resulting in the month-long delay. The track "Oblivion" was offered for free months ago however, giving listeners a sneak preview of her newer, more streamlined, pop-oriented sound. Shortly after, the track "Genesis" was also offered as a free download, which has, so far remained a personal fave from the new album, with its dreamily ascending and descending synth melodies and rolling electronic bass line leading into a bouncy break beat, soon joined by some subtle industrial scrape n' squeak rhythms, as Grimes' lovely voice carries the track steadily afloat.
Some critics claim this one's better produced than her much "darker", denser, previous release Halfaxa, but I'd have to disagree. It's simply produced differently, and while I prefer the more maximal, gauzy layers of sound and vocals on Halfaxa, it's cool to hear the vocals more upfront and clearly on Visions. As for the pop direction of Visions, Grimes cited some very pop names as influences in recent interviews around the time of this album's recording, causing some concern for early fans, myself included. The good news is, this is pop music on Grimes' own terms, sounding as if a female replicant from Blade Runner got a hold of a busted up Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam cassette and found a way to assimilate the music into it's circuitry and pipe it out through its android vocal chords. I look forward to listening a lot more to Visions and discovering which tracks grow on me more with each listen, and there's no doubt Ms. Claire Boucher will have many more musical surprises up her sleeve in the not-too-distant future.