(is) Claire Boucher’s fourth album released in November 2015 sees her rise from the murky depths of her previous album Visions (2012) straight into the limelight of LA-style pop spheres. Featuring collaborations with Janelle Monáe (‘Venus Fly’) and Taiwanese rapper Aristophanes (‘Scream’), Art Angels is a dance album that taps into both EDM club culture and a current obsession with late 90s nostalgia. Tracks are scattered with sound effects referencing everything from Ibiza techno and Tamagotchis to your favourite fantasy videogame (the intro to ‘World Princess part II’ sounding like a throwback to the glory days of flip phones and polyphonic ringtones).
Whereas Grimes’ previous releases floated in an introspective space with vocals shrouded in layers of reverb and endless loops, Art Angels feels tightly structured, brimming with tracks that have all the tenets to appeal on a commercial scale (‘Flesh Without Blood’, ‘Kill V. Maim’, ‘California’). But Boucher masterfully twists the manic pixie aesthetic into an anime horror, singing “I’ll never be your dream girl”. Indeed those catchy dance hooks and saccharine high-pitched vocals reminiscent of artificial Chupa Chups flavours lure you into a nightmare-ish subterranean rave that proves impossible to resist. Art Angels is a well-crafted dance pop album with Grimes’ distinctly experimental touch. Entirely self-produced, Boucher thrusts her technical prowess onto every track, adding a F-U message to a sexist music industry that still continues to belittle women’s abilities as producers, engineers, lyricists.
4 AD, 2015
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