Claire Boucher aka Grimes‘ first single from her upcoming album Art Angels, arrives with expectations that have only heightened since the release of her third album Visions. The Montreal musician’s idiosyncratic style and outspoken personality (because telling people what you like and don’t like and having opinions on things is “outspoken” in music in 2015) is what has helped her stature grow in the time since.
Visions was recorded over just nine days though and Art Angels (due November 6th on 4AD) has had a much longer recording period. Boucher has flirted with the pop culture mainstream, by an aborted attempt to write for Rihanna, fashion co-signs and a larger, more fanatical audience in the process.
Last year’s Rihanna cast off ‘Go’ pitched Grimes too far into the zeitgeist. It mostly didn’t work because it pandered too close to EDM pop that others were doing at the time. Grimes’ appeal is that she does her own thing. ‘REALITi’ the demo single she dropped earlier this year, was much better, in large part because it played to Boucher’s strengths, her unique vocals and a euphoric synth-pop style that is entirely her own.
‘Flesh without Blood’ is somewhere in the middle. It’s out and out pop song that employs a guitar sound that isn’t too far away from the sound of a Taylor Swift or Demi Lovato record. This isn’t surprising, Boucher devours pop of all kinds – as she shares on her Tumblr – American and Asian particularly.
What makes ‘Flesh without Blood’ work so well are the vocals and the production. Where others would not be able to distinguish the relatively light driving guitar rhythm too much, Boucher brings in almost industrial sounds and beats to the track. Her vocals, echoed and breathy, could only be hers. ‘Flesh without Blood’ is pop on Grimes own terms, the way it should be.
The video also comes with ‘Life in the Vivid Dream’, a short album track. Art Angels features Janelle Monae and Taiwanese rapper Aristophanes on its track list. ‘REALITi’ also features, any chance it is a re-recorded version as Boucher lost the files for the original and the track remained unmastered as a result.
‘Art Angels’ Track Listing
1. laughing and not being normal
3. SCREAM ft. Aristophanes
4. Flesh without Blood
5. Belly of the beat
6. Kill V. Maim
11. World Princess part II
12. Venus Fly ft. Janelle Monáe
13. Life in the Vivid Dream