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ALBUM REVIEW | electronic

Grimes, ‘Visions’

Faced with the limitless possibilities of what (or who) to sound like, the real work for today’s pop-maker isn’t just writing a catchy tune. She must also plot her own boundaries, curate her referents, and properly hybridize her vibe. Montreal’s Claire Boucher meets these tasks with airy ease on “Visions,’’ her fourth outing as Grimes. A song like “Vowels = space and time’’ may initially scan as an unsteady balance of Lisa Lisa and Kate Bush, but Boucher gradually reveals a deeper level of control. This extends to her vocals: She can hone in on a lonely blue hue, or burst into multiples, a wispy chorus of her voice soaring through broad clouds of backlit reverb. By the time “Be a Body’’ rolls around, her soprano curlicues, dance floor accents, thudding beats, and spectral atmospherics feel familiar, but the songs are always charged with a sense of adventure. The music doesn’t always have a destination - the lovely “Symphonia IX (my wait is u)’’ self-immolates into gauzy discord. And technology occasionally fails her (a real piano would help). It’s an album of mixed signals, and while Grimes sounds like she’s still sorting out what it all means, her uncertainty is worth sharing. (Out today)


ESSENTIAL “Oblivion’’

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