Album of the week: Art Angels by Grimes

 

 
 
 
 
Claire Boucher, a.k.a. Grimes, released her fourth album Art Angels earlier this month.
 
 

Claire Boucher, a.k.a. Grimes, released her fourth album Art Angels earlier this month.

Photograph by: Michael Avedon, Michael Avedon

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Art Angels

Grimes

(Eerie Organization/Crystal Math)

Four and a half stars

You can forgive Claire Boucher for not wanting to be tagged as the “next pop star,” but Art Angels is going to make avoiding it very difficult.

With her fourth album as Grimes and the followup to breakout work Visions, Boucher has refined her pop sensibilities to the extreme. From the ramshackle, shambolic Garageband production on Visions, Boucher (still controlling every aspect of her creation) has concocted a record that is polished, punchy, and one of the catchiest pop offerings of the year.

Delicate acoustic guitar strums are peppered throughout, with calculated synths and carefully constructed beats and melodies a far cry for the glitchy, DIY electro of her previous body of work. Art Angels is arguably her first true “pure pop” statement, and it would be difficult to argue otherwise when listening to such disarming numbers as the ebullient Flesh Without Blood (“It’s nice that you say you like me/But only conditionally,” Boucher sings with her siren call-like voice) and the Janelle Monae-backed Venus Fly.

For longtime fans, there’s the weirdo penchant of Kill V. Maim, a devastating nugget about a vampire that can travel through time that recalls Castlevania video games and J-Pop, and the ear-blasting, guitar-shredding Scream, featuring Taiwanese rapper Aristophanes.

But the real reward is embracing the growth and transformation Grimes has undergone throughout a long period of doubt following Visions, and upon hearing the tropical, hand-clapping thumper Butterfly, closing the album, it’s clear that Grimes emerges as a true standout pop talent.

 
 
 
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Claire Boucher, a.k.a. Grimes, released her fourth album Art Angels earlier this month.
 

Claire Boucher, a.k.a. Grimes, released her fourth album Art Angels earlier this month.

Photograph by: Michael Avedon, Michael Avedon

 
Claire Boucher, a.k.a. Grimes, released her fourth album Art Angels earlier this month.
Art Angels, by Grimes.
 
 
 
 
 
 
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