Montreal's Grimes (Claire Boucher) has been blowing up in recent months. With her exaggerated features, impossibly short bangs and adorable lisp, she's part alien and part little sister. But that's not the only reason we've been paying attention. She was recently given a jaw-dropping 8.5 rating by Pitchfork on her debut record Visions, elevating her to the category of "Best New Music." If this were grade school, her project would be covered in little gold stars and we'd all mumble something about her being a teacher's pet.
But when you hear Grimes' Visions you begin to realize that she's not conforming to any norms -- she's constructing vocals that sound unique and extraterrestrial. It's still pop music, but there are parts that feel obscure. You can barely make out the words she sings, but it feels appropriate, like we're listening to traditional songs from a time beyond our own language, perhaps a Jetsons-like dystopia in the not-too-distant future. Playing the part of a mischievous, curious girl, Boucher loves all things spooky, talking openly about her fear of ghosts and making big, scary and demonic sounds.
Sometimes, her voice can sound so childlike that it might as well be a recording of a toddler whisperiing "I wuv you" into your ear -- but set to synth and layered. Other times she sounds like an Icelandic elf, sandwiching high falsetto between a crunching lisp, the resulting sound endearing as heck. Although she lacks any sort of proper comparison -- you hear traces of Braids (who are friends of hers) or Julianna Barwick -- Boucher's is a shattering, choir-like sound that's manipulated with pedals and samples in the best kind of way. But Grimes is more than an audio project. She asserts that the visual component is just as important, and plans to release a video for every song.
Grimes will play the Soda Bar on February 25. Supporting her will be Born Gold (formerly GOBBLE GOBBLE), an Edmonton electronic group that's as much a traveling party as it is a band. They're known for electrifying live shows that actively involve the audience, oftentimes embedding themselves onto the dance floor with props and costumes. They don't just invite you to dance, they physically command you to.
With Born Gold's set sure to get you moving, and Grimes' set certain to keep you on your toes, you're in for one weird night at the Soda Bar. Unfortunately for those who haven't purchased tickets already, the show is now sold out.