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on 12 March 2012
Following an increasingly impressive run of varied releases, Visions may well be the album to send Montréalaise babe Clare Boucher skywards if not stratospheric. And there are few finer platforms from which to perform such a launch than with 4AD who, after last year's success with Gang Gang Dance, seem very much to be in the market for acts that sound like what The Cocteau Twins could have been producing if still recording today.

So to Visions, which if nothing else again proves Boucher to be one of the more interesting and certainly most prolific of those currently practising in cutting-edge pop. With little care for genre, "Circumambient" is, for example, half a radio-friendly ballad echoed out to infinity and half a simmering slice of minimal IDM all chopped, spliced and staggered into a precarious but striking blend. On the other hand, amid Boucher's high-pitch self-backing vocal tricks, roboticised and Germanic repeats announce and frame the lurching industry of "Eight".

More than earning the "outer-limits pop" classification that has recently been flung in Boucher's direction, "Genesis" is full of warm synth progressions and an organic vocal drift that evokes Julianna Barwick`s similar adventures on The Magic Place. Here, as elsewhere, a straightforward beat adds backbone to otherwise ethereal proceedings that all combine into the sort of new age whimsy popular with those that dig interpretative dance - see "Symphonia IX (my wait is u)" for a lesser reprise, notable really in such company only for its harsh synthetic-snare cracks.

Not content there, "Oblivion" is in turn a Casio-driven, retro-futurist pop encounter beamed directly from the 80s into some contemporary sci-fi setting. That in doing so the chorus seems to obtain a double-take likeness with Tiffany`s stellar version of "I Think We're Alone Now" is sure to incur someone's wrath upon reading these words. Later, albeit with a much smaller budget, the crumpled beat and frosty keys of "Colour Of Moonlight (Antiochus)" even manage to recall the weirder elements of Björk`s Biophilia.

Belonging to a more subtle realm, "Skin" is perhaps most surprising of all however, as amid such Avant posturing and playful futurism Boucher's gentle coherency, restrained keyboards/synths and super-charged falsetto seem Siren-like, tinged with both hopelessness and an inexorable sense of allure.

Everywhere you look, Visions is bursting with possibility and experimentation: be that with the trancelike "Be A Body", Boucher's looping skills and her sometimes chipmunk-esque mewing, or indeed the momentarily neo-classical "Nightmusic" during which Boucher this time affects a sanity-questioning and whispered rap on top of textural choral backing.

Though there may be nothing to quite rival the impact nor immediacy of Halfaxa`s stand-out "Sagrad ''''''''''", Visions' only real fault is in its own pluralisation; Boucher is no longer simply writing songs, she's transmuting a singular vision through her Grimes persona - and currently she can see light years further than almost anyone else.

Advised downloads: "Skin" and "Oblivion".
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on 20 May 2015
Just received an email to say that this CD has been posted through my letter box [I like that idea, it is very neat] - and it is now playing on my Hifi - great music - grandchild very impressed with the designs on the cover and the disc itself. It is fascinating first hearing the music on DAB tuner - then noting the 'now playing' info; ordering online and finally being able to play same music within a short space of time on my own system.

I enjoy music as I usually have my tuner on all day - but have now switched over to CD to enjoy one of my latest purchases - I have a wide range of music plus musical tastes - so Visions by Grimes is another step for me. If you enjoy Grimes then this CD should not disappoint.
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on 12 April 2012
Grimes, or Claire Boucher as she's probably known to her elderly relatives, couldn't have chosen a more accurate name for her third LP. Visions is evidently more of a `project' than most other albums on the shelf today - and it's clear that the young Canadian had a certain vision in mind when she started work on the record back in 2010. It's also clear that she's realised that vision to perfection. This might just be one one of the best albums of 2012 so far, Grimes rides wave after wave of perfectly constructed synth-pop, somehow creating a sound that belongs to the 1980s and the future all at the same time.
Oblivion, the album's standout, is the perfect example of this. Layers of ambient synth, samples and digital sound effects are meshed together minimalistically underneath Boucher's butter-wouldn't-melt vocals. The preceding Genesis is almost as successful, and has rightfully garnered a huge amount of Internet airplay.
It continues. Circumambient (best song name ever?) captures Boucher at her most unconventionally catchy, with a truly addictive chorus comprised of more choppy layers than bears thinking about. Eight and Symphonia IX (My wait is u) both stand up on their own to prove that Grimes is far from a one-trick pony. The former showcases Boucher's vocal range - albeit with the help of some robotic filters - while the latter features some wonderfully soft piano scales, and is the closest thing to a ballad on the record.
In truth, it's hard to pinpoint any filler on Visions. Part of its draw is that there's nothing out there that sounds quite like it. This isn't to suggest that others aren't trying; they just don't have Grimes' weirdly wonderful talent - which every track on this album so perfectly showcases.
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on 23 July 2016
You may have been attracted by Oblivion (love the video) but stay on and get hooked by Genesis, Skin and the rest. The sounds are darker and more ethereal than Artangels; another Grimes tour de force.
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on 8 April 2012
Claire Boucher's (Grimes) streamlined approach to making music isn't particularly sui generis in the 2010's, many artists are frequently being described as ecclectic now, but few are able to construct a distinctive aesthetic out of the disparate influences they peddle. Thats the main strengh of this album, the songs on here have elements of familiarity but neither of them feel indebted to a particular era. Take Genesis, it features looped piano notes, oriental sounds, hi hat cymbals, electronic beats and Claire's playfully childlike vocals, which are all introduced within the first 30 seconds of the song and then alternated in various forms throughout it's 4 minute playing time. It sounds a little sporadic on paper, but it works really well by not just offering you a cornucopia of delights but introducing these elements at just the right time to keep you engaged and eager to see what's coming next.

Be A Body is another obvious treat too, with it's electro ambient permutations and Boucher's sweetly synthetic falsetto, sending you off to some futuristic utopia. The rest of the album juggles similar sounds in different ways like Oblivions employment of noises you might find in an arcade somewhere in the early 90's. Than there's Nightmusic's snippets of neoclassical sounds that are neatly interwoven with the ambient synts and piano loops that are found all over this album. This music won't be for everybody i hasten to add and even though i'm fond of it, i found Grimes delicate patchwork of sounds to be a little too cutesy and adorable at times leaving some of the songs on here sounding merely pleasant and a little forgettable. Nevertheless i still found this a charming foray into a pop wonderland that felt pleasently familiar yet refreshingly novel, if your an electro pop fan it's definitely worth giving this a listen as your likely to really enjoy this.
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on 6 May 2012
Grimes (Claire Boucher)is such a likeable, unspoilt young lady with rapidly evolving embryonic talent. She is at her best when she doesn't present herself with limitations. Yes, do Liz Frazer "lost-vocals" when it suits but there isn't anything wrong with some straight vocals, or noe at all. I agree with some comments that the album becomes a little samey and the difficulty lies in having such a couple of knock-out tracks - Oblivion and Genesis slap-bang together, However , there are a number of growers, and if you like good beat-tracks and synth-bass lines then tracks like Be a Body will not disappoint. Circumambient, Vowels and Symphonia IX have real substance. Not to everyone's taste as a whole and , perhaps disappointing to those wanting Genesis/Oblivion 1 through to 12 or 13 ... if you are a fan of varied and textured synth-based music and you like unapologetically feminine vocals and lyrical stylings, this is definitely a 4 out of 5 and, if you are impressed by how far the 24 year old Grimes has come in such a short amount of time ( and modest volume of recordings), you will consider rating it 5 out of 5.
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on 21 March 2013
More than anything, this reminds me of a cross between Art of Noise and Cranes. It's a great album, by and large, although it is in danger of disappearing up its own arse at a couple of points. It's quite arty, but there is enough pop in there to stop it from being tiresome, and the ambient feel to it is nice for driving music. On the whole, very pleased with it. I'm not sure it would make me buy anythng else by them, but saying that, I bought the album on the strength of the single.
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on 15 December 2012
The reviews here are a bit of a mixed bag, but I'd recommend it. It has a decent retro feel and for those who, shall we say, have been around electronic music since the late seventies, it will feel nicely familar. That doesn't take away from the modern beat slant of the album and in particular, I found the production very good. Listened to on a decent system, you can pick up some really clever touches - the production is spacious and involving. It ticks a lot of cross-over boxes and she should be applauded - it's a brave album.
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on 8 May 2013
Comprei esse LP no dia 29 de março e aguardei ansiosamente a chegada do mesmo no dia 30 de abril. No momento da entrega não deu outra: só felicidade! Grimes abusa de melodias que tocam o espírito, faixa a faixa do álbum; sem dizer que a qualidade do vinil é incrível e me proporcionou momentos de muito prazer. Nota 10!
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on 12 March 2012
Hooky as hell sums up Grimes 4AD debut neatly. You'll be humming along to a vocal melody one moment before it disintegrates into synthetic vapour, transforming abruptly into something just as ear-wormingly infectious. 'Be A Body' initially seemed the standout, with a weightless nursery-rhyme refrain segueing into a crudely drawn electro beat that rides a brilliantly low-ended tribal choir sound that instantly reminded me of the song 'That Mystic' from Night Slugs affiliate Kingdom.

The more I listened, the more each song on the album made sense and opened it's rich delights. 'Eight' romps along on a squelchy robotic voice that grooves via its own malfunctioning rhythm. The most accomplished (but not necessarily the best, though it is fantastic) song is surely 'Skin', gliding on the most palatable vocals you'll find on the album (Grimes voice is twisted and high-pitched quite often, and I assume will be a Marmite ingredient for some), and also has the most obviously love-lorn lyrics and approachable song-structure. Other obvious highlights include bouncy electro tracks 'Genesis' and 'Oblivion'.

I've read criticism concerning Grimes unusual song-titles but I actually think they have a charming quality that fits into the overall aesthetic, for example the first song has a title not unlike something a teenager would hurriedly scratch into a scrapbook, and 'Symphonia IX (My Wait Is U)' seems like its riffing on the obscure names given to Japanese role-playing games, or indeed the song that would soundtrack said game. I absolutely adore this album and it feels like something that will only grow on me over time.
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