Art Angels is the highly anticipated fourth album from electronic one-woman sensation Grimes. Claire Boucher is back on form with fifteen new tracks, showcasing her ability to turn fantasy and reality in to an awkwardly beautiful, pastel-coloured aural rainbow.
Earlier this year, Boucher apparently scrapped her entire album due to a lack of enthusiasm surrounding her single ‘Go’. Fortunately, this hasn’t knocked her artistic confidence, and this is clear from Art Angels’ opening track ‘Laughing And Not Being Normal’, which is a brief ode to being weird and wonderful. ‘California’ sounds like sunshine, but in her lyrics Grimes is conscious of the aforementioned dilemma, and an artist’s ability to fade in to the shadows:”The things they see in me, I cannot see myself. When you get bored of me I’ll be back on the shelf”.
A track which will remain un-shelved, however, is ‘Scream’. It features Taiwanese rapper Aristophanes and is laced with hyper-feminine screams, laughs, and tongue-twisting lyrics which don’t need to be translated in order to be enjoyed. ‘Flesh Without Blood’ is another dose of Grimes’ idiosyncratic electronic excellence. She shamelessly declares “I don’t care anymore” over bouncing drums, celestial synths and fizzy guitar.
‘Belly Of The Beat’ can be skipped in favour of ‘Kill V Maim’, which would be the perfect chant for an anti-cheerleading team. The intro to ‘World Princess, Pt. II’ could’ve scored a game on the Sega Mega Drive, whilst the eponymously named ‘Artangels’ could be the soundtrack to a roller-skating session in the clouds.
‘Easily’ is gentle on the ears, with melodic keyboards underscoring Grimes’ lyrical confidence: “I’m the sweetest damn thing you ever saw” she sings – and it’s hard to disagree. ‘Pin’ is sharp in its production, and single ‘Realiti’ will resonate further on a second listen; whilst ‘Venus Fly’ is a clubbing necessity for those who want to be trapped in tribal beats.
‘Life In The Vivid Dream’ is as poetic and exquisite as it sounds: “I could tell you that people are good in the end, but why, why would I?” sings Boucher, and whilst it’s hard to fault her accurately placed cynicism, it’s so easy to be seduced by her ethereal vocals. ‘Butterfly’ flutters in and out of volume changes, and closes the record.
Art Angels may be pop-heavy and perhaps lacking the stand out singles fans saw on Visions – ‘Oblivion’ and ‘Genesis’ will take some beating – but Grimes’ blend of celestial and sinister sounds will still please pre-existing fans; and introduce new listeners to Claire Boucher’s fantastically awkward ‘Realiti’.
Art Angels is out now via 4AD.