Claire Boucher, known as Grimes, first started making music through GarageBand sessions in her home in Montreal. Although the 23-year-old artist continues to make her music singlehandedly, her newest album, Visions, ventures out of her bedroom and soars as her most confident compilation yet.
In her past two albums Halfaxa and Darkbloom, Grimes pervaded through the murky depths of self-discovery. It was evident — although her sweet coos and even sweeter dance moves make even her scruples seem endearing — that she lacked formal musical training.
In Visions, Grimes sharpens her focus drastically and climbs out of her foreboding atmosphere. She refines her strongest qualities — such as her pixie-like falsetto and crisp pop beats that were graced in the revelatory instance of “Vanessa” — and sustains a sense of elated conviction throughout the album.
Grimes borrows from K-pop, “The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time” and Mariah Carey — her influences seem to be perpetually morphing as her career culminates. She has no problem owning up to her musical schizophrenia either, and unabashedly revels in the malleable nature of our age of Tumblr reblogs and Instagrammed nostalgia. Grimes calls up glittery synthpop only to summon her inner soul-diva. She samples Mozart’s “Requiem” in “Nightmusic,” but she just as quickly turns it in to something completely intangible, suspending the classic up in to the clouds, reverberating in sparkly discourse.
Grimes is a one-woman band making music literally out of the palms of her own two hands. And behind the elfin demeanor and obscured vocals, there is a bold, indefatigable dynamism that makes her truly an interesting artist to watch transform.