It took me a couple of spins of Visions' first single, Oblivion, to get used to Claire Boucher's baby ghost vocal stylings, but by about the fourth or fifth listen, I was hooked. I immediately downloaded the rest of the album and I've been listening to it on repeat ever since. A one-woman electronic band, Grimes can lay down some funky beats, and she uses her voice like another instrument, weaving rich, almost ethereal, yet often danceable tunes, thick with rythm and melody. The album presents a good mix of uptempo songs and almost sensual slow burners, and it all flows together seamlessly. Her talents in composition and orchestration are truly impressive.
Be forewarned, though: Grimes' voice is probably not going to appeal to a broad audience. She often sings in a pretty high register, or in a breathy whimper, and it takes a little while for the ear to appreciate her vocal talents. Her voice is actually remarkably versatile- sometimes she sounds like the Sundays' Harriet Wheeler, other times she sounds like Enya, and sometimes even, Stacy Q. The voice is the key component of her musical arsenal, though. She does all kinds of things with her voice, sampling it, looping it, putting it through a delay, using it as a percussive instrument. Coupled with her impressive studio talents, and her ear for melody, it is a potent weapon.
Overall, Visions is a truly powerful and memorable listening experience. Like a dark, rich beer, it does take a little getting used to. But if you are a patient listener in search of slightly different fare, you will likely find it a rewarding investment.