Grimes – Art Angles Review

Grimes is the musical guise of Vancouver’s Montreal based Claire Elise Boucher. The former neuroscience student has applied such an intelligent and methodical approach to her music with a free flowing and eccentric attitude and style that sets her music apart from others. It’s been over three years since her album Visions which was heralded as one of the most important albums of the 21st Century with it’s electronic thrills and spills, both dark and lighted hearted in places. With her scrapping an entire album last year which looked to switch to more trap drop orientated sounds, she altered her approach early this year with ‘Realiti’. It offered more shimmering electronica and soft melodies and it would seem this is the general she’s taken with this album; her fourth studio effort.

‘Flesh Without Blood’ has a genuine Rock Pop slant entwined with those prominent elements of intricate industrial electronica and this is lightly glossed over with an echoed production which is only enhanced with her lightly distorted vocals that glaze over the instrumentation. The track is cleverly produced and shifts and alters it’s focus almost constantly throughout the track whilst being catchy and melodic, but also remaining to have something more to it. A great and intricate single. ‘SCREAMS’ features Taiwanese rapper Aristophanes and Taiwanese lyrics delivered with speed. Around this are repeating guitar samples and a range of tumbling percussion mixed with drum samples. The song is tinged with heavier and rough edged guitars, heavier beats and echoed screeches which cleverly follow a muting of the music for maximum effect. A song that is as dynamic and as varied as Grimes herself. ‘Realiti’ has since been re-worked from it’s winter version. It contains a more prominent and oscillating beat and a multi-layered set of vocals of varying tones and clarity. Her primary vocals are more isolated and crisp and are delivered with a pop hook to carry the song on through it’s expansive nature.

The title track is a pure pop that is so sweet it will rot your teeth. Everything from the popping guitars and snapping beats and high pitched engineered melodies, but even in this setting Grimes is able to generate a sense of something more in the chorus with the sweeping vocal and travels through the instrumentation. A track that is difficult to get on terms with at first. ‘Venus Fly’ opens with the heightened warped synths akin to early Daft Punk, but then pulls itself away into heavy beats and echoed vocals from Janelle Monae with bounce around the tight confines of the track. The bridge sheds a little more light on to the track with smoother production before it goes off into pure dark electronica accented with a fiddle of all things. It is one of the best tracks on the album as it keeps you on your toes throughout and is unrelenting in it’s pent up energy. ‘Kill. V Maim’ is a track of unrestricted dance music with it’s pop beats and Grimes extravagant, shifting vocals which go on to be taken over by heavy beats and ridiculously distorted guitars and negatively pitch shifted vocals. It almost sounds like what Lady Gaga wished her music would sound like and it has no concept of boundaries. Tracks such as ‘California’ features a lightly distorted production and a steady, rotating riff with high pitched, yet smooth vocals and rapid handclap samples. These tracks feature often on the album and though superficial at first, she goes on to use it as a basic for odd combinations and fusions. The album is a glorious piece of pop and dance music which has never been so shifted and stretched to it’s limits before, but with Art Angles Grimes’ work is done.

Grimes – Art Angles = 8.5/10

Owen Riddle @oriddleo1995

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