Ones To Watch - Grimes

Avant pop/future shock
Grimes by  Samuel John Butt
So artists are increasingly stretching the elastic band of music to its full extremities in every which way and direction possible. Grimes, AKA Canadian femme Claire Boucher, may not be innovating a new set of rules for everyone else to play by, but she has gone and placed herself right on the ambiguous peripherals of pop music where the likes of Laurel Halo and various chillwave entities wallow. Consequently, she’s been branded a few ways: “I really like ‘avant-pop’; someone said that once. There’s also a book by Alvin Toffler called Future Shock, I think that could be something I could prescribe to also.”

It’s a pleasant balance. The sounds are ethereal and sullen, diffused with electronic 8-bit stabs and the like, yet they don’t stray carelessly from what is deemed mainstream adequate.

Two long-players slipped rather undetected through the Clash loop last year. The first of which, ‘Geidi Primes’, was (for the most part) a dark and shadowy affair - as was the consensual wave last year.

Tunes like ‘Feyd Rautha Dark Heart’ pit Boucher’s trifling yet economical voice in a cavernous well of reverb. The lead lyric, “I won’t break your heart in the dark,” repeats to just a kick and snare. Standouts ‘Rosa’ and ‘Gambang’ blossom with more complex tones and textures, which are a welcome change of pace on the album but are still strung by echoey vocal drainage from the Montreal girl.

The next LP, ‘Halfaxa’ was comparatively more mature. Grimes’ identity had advanced and engulfed in it clear influences from as far afield as R&B. With it came an apparent weirdness, more multifaceted than the brilliant debut - which had come only a couple of months before - but equally captivating and ice cold.

This year, Grimes’ debut gets the reissue treatment on vinyl and CD via No Pain No Pop. As for what comes next, she’s working on an album, “a full length, which is almost done and that’s coming out in January and that’s what I really care about”.

Where: Montreal, Canada
What: Avant pop/future shock
Unique fact: Grimes cites Salem, Mariah Carey and Tool as major influences, but sounds like none of them.
Get 3 songs: ‘Vanessa’, ‘Rosa’, ‘Fragments Of The Future’

All clothes by Ted Baker

Words by Errol Anderson
Photo by Samuel John Butt

Have your say

Sign in or Register to leave comments
-