Art Angels Album Review
Released November 6, 2015
Genre: Synth Pop, Art Pop, Electropop, Experimental Pop
Indie music fans’ favorite pop star Grimes (aka Claire Boucher) returns with an instantly accessible yet delightfully odd follow-up to 2012’s Visions entitled Art Angels. Here, the songstress continues on the road of her electro-pop, stripping away the airy and ethereal vocals for a more intimate and straightforward approach. Stylistically Grimes drives a little ways off the road, bringing in a wide array of influences ranging from exotic flavors (“California”) to rock influence (“SCREAM”). It’s a welcome transition that doesn’t necessarily hint at growth, but rather at a new way at looking at success in the realm of pop music. Mid 2014, Grimes released “Go (feat Blood Diamonds)”, a song intended for Rihanna that found Grimes operating in the realm of house music. While the track made her more accessible to popular culture folk, it angered many Grimes purists for its “bandwagoning” on modern EDM trends, which led to Grimes trashing the entire first conception of her Visions follow-up.
And yet, here we are with a thrilling version of what could’ve been and it’s more than you could ask for. By stripping away the echoes and atmosphere, Grimes has crafted a record that strips away the transcendence and amps up the urgency without stripping away any of the depth and power in her arrangements. Boucher’s K-Pop influence blends with satire on “Kill V. Maim”, where the overblown chants and maximal production fries the whole experience in a good way. Like “California”, the track “Artangels” has the opportunity to be a crossover hit, but is fractured, warped, and crafted into a Grimes song – in typical style and fashion. “Easily” brings in a great change of pace in the middle of it all, breathing ethereal atmosphere into the mix very well.
Amidst the WIDE array of styles, sounds, and songs on Art Angels, Grimes’ quirky and idiosyncratic persona pulls everything together, making her the center of it all as the record overflows with personality at almost every turn. It’s a commanding and fully realized approach, and the result is a sharp, sleek, and polished pop record – one that proves to be a trippy oddball of an experience.
PRETTY NEAT MUSIC
FAV TRACKS: California, SCREAM (feat. Aristophanes), Flesh without blood, Kill V. Maim, Artangels, Pin, Butterfly
LEAST FAV TRACK: Venus Fly (feat. Janelle Monáe)