Review: Grimes stuns with new album “Art Angels”

“A bit of a mess.”

That’s how 27-year-old Canadian recording studio artist Claire Boucher, otherwise known as Grimes, described a demo from her 4th studio effort, Art Angels, entitled “Realiti”.

But the album itself, is quite a step away from reality.

The album artwork, designed by Grimes herself, features a strange-looking humanoid with three eyes and a black braid. Grimes revealed the cover art on social media networks late in October and promised a music video to accompany her lead single within a week.

Fans awaited eagerly for more information. Exactly a week later, as promised, Grimes revealed a November 6th album release date and unveiled a two-part music video for lead single: “Flesh Without Blood” and album interlude “Life in the Vivid Dream”.

And for Grimes, life probably does seem like a vivid dream. Her past work, particularly her previous record, Visions (which features the hit single, Genesis) was recorded in the dark of her bedroom, on an apartment block full of musicians, while fasting, chain smoking and under the vast and limitless influence of amphetamines. Visions proved to be a poetic masterpiece and received an overall score of 80/100 from our friends at Metacritic.

But enough of the past. Let’s get back to present.

Art Angels truly lives up to its’ name.

The album starts off with a high-energy introduction, entitled “Laughing and not being Normal”. The high energy carries onto “California”, a truly angelic track that samples Rihanna’s “Pon De Replay” and features some of Grimes’ best vocals to date. “Scream” features Taiwanese rapper Aristophanes, and spooky effects just in time for Halloween. The lead single (and rightfully so), “Flesh Without Blood” is a monstrous highlight of the album. Beginning with a somewhat foreign-to-Grimes pop punk guitar riff, the chorus explodes in complicated but pure pop. “You destroy everything that you know” she sings boldly. On “World Princess Pt. II”, she explores a gamer-esque, hypnotic, electronic instrumental that is almost reminiscent of Mario Kart. The reworked studio version of “Realiti” takes you to a different world. “Oh baby every morning there are mountains to climb”, she sings. And boy, does she climb. She even teams up with with R&B sensation Janelle Monae for a sassy “Venus Fly”. Art Angels closes with the beautifully crafted “Butterfly”.

Grimes aimed high for this album, there’s no doubt about it. But she stayed true to her artistic vision and sound simultaneously. She was able to venture outside of her comfort zone and better yet, every single track on the album was completely written and composed by her. So what’s not to like? You be the judge.

Key tracks: “Flesh Without Blood”, “Art Angels”, “Realiti”, “Scream”

Purchase the 14 track digital* album, available for download on iTunes now!

What did you think of the new album? Tweet us at @CelebMix!

 

*physical copies available via 4AD, scheduled to contain the demo version of album track “Realiti“, to be released 11 December 2015