Grimes: “Visiting Statue”
From what little I knew of her, I didn’t expect to like Visions, the album released by Grimes earlier this year, very much. The problem was that I was very mistaken by the quick glimpses I’d caught of her. I don’t know where the image came from, but I was somehow expecting her to be some fleetingly trendy pseudo-rap nontalent. I’m a bit ashamed to admit that I couldn’t really have been more off the mark when it came to what her music sounded like. And, as it turns out, Visions is one of the most interesting new albums I heard in 2012. Grimes (real name: Claire Boucher) blends an ethereal, Bjork-like quality, minus the guttural vocal swoops, with old-school Kate Bush atmospherics and new-school hiphop beats, with a pretty sizable injection of ’80s synth for good measure. Her voice sometime hits helium highs, only occasionally augmented by technology (her highest vocals on one of the album’s tracks, “Eight,” can’t possibly be naturally attainable), but even those usually work in the song’s context. It’s danceable music for sure, but contains enough variation and unexpected twists and turns in melody or instrumentation that it comes off as brainy at the same time. “Visiting Statue” is one of the shorter tracks on the album, but has one of the album’s most hauntingly beautiful melodies — it’s a good introduction to ease your way into the varied joys of one of the more surprisingly excellent albums of the year.