REVIEW: Grimes – ‘Art Angels’

Grimes released her fourth full-length album ‘Art Angels’ in the beginning of November and the entire LP can be set to replay for hours.

Grimes is distinctive in the way she creates music. She began recording and performing university, she established her own standards. Ever since then, the recording process could see her locking herself in for a week without food and walking around in her own house studio “banging things together.” Somehow these methods seem to work just fine.

With ‘Visions’ she took the alternative indie-pop world with storm, after two more experimental albums with space-bound Enya meets dreamy Skrillex feels. On ‘Visions’, created using Garageband, she started to slowly use her high pitch vocals along with the bombastic, spacey kind of sound that was within – the typical Grimes sound that is both so familiar and yet so singular.

For dedicated Grimes fans her new album might come as a bit of a surprise. Although the out of earth, uneven LSD kind of sound is still there, lurking in the background, it’s now mixed up with traces of MisterWives and Austra, in a perfect party drink with a twist.

With ‘Art Angels’ she’s going from instrumental sci-fi tunes to more festival friendly songs with actual lyrics. The record might be accessible to a more mainstream audience, but the level has no doubt stepped up a notch. It’s obvious how far Grimes has come in her own evolution during the last three years – technically as a producer, creatively and as a singer.

Flesh without blood, which was the public’s first taste of the album, got us good. It’s catchy, relatable and slamming just like the new version of Realiti that appears on the record. With the tunes Venus Fly and Kill V. Maim she stepping up the game even more, giving us a taste of cocky, sarcastic chants with a touch of Smurf indications, starring year 2006’s biggest stars – the cheer leaders.

Belly of the beat and Pin are similar sounding cradling you in to a softer kind of electronic pop melody with longing lyrics of a dream world, with the beat steadily keeping score in the background.

The song with the same name as the album, Art Angels, with a wild mix of Vengaboys and Jackson 5, California and World Princess part II all bring with them a positive aura, at least in respect to the melody. Historically, Grimes personal favourites are not to be found among the more popular songs in her archive and that goes for California too. None the less, the euphoric, dynamic compositions are spot on.

The tracks Life in the Vivid Dream and Easily are gentle, dreamy and surrounding. The latter, so calmly confidant and well paced, you could listen to it all day long.

In laughing and not being normal and SCREAM features Taiwanese rap and gothic rhythms, set against dramatic backdrops.

The year of 2015 will, from now on be the year it finally became possible to reach the crowd through pop-music without simplifying the artistic level of quality. “I’ll never be your dream girl,” she sings in rhythmic Butterfly. ‘Art Angels’ is not only a piece of musical art to be added to Grimes own odd collection, but also a feminist, refreshing punch in the face.

Grimes plays the Olympia Theatre on March 15th. See for more.
Elsa Anderling

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