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Grimes - 'Art Angels'
Claire Boucher retains her alien spirit on a fourth album that dabbles in pop
It would be reductive to call this record Boucher's ‘Grimes goes Pop’ moment, but it certainly feels like an attempt to bridge the gap between her fervent online cult and tangible, real-world success. On the Rihanna-sampling pop-country sugar rush of 'California' or the frenetic, guitar-heavy 'Kill V. Maim', where she sounds like an entire pyramid of demented K-pop cheerleaders, that transition seems both effortless and inevitable. At other times, it merely seems perplexing - why trade outsider-artistry for the servicable likes of 'Artangels' or 'Easily'? Yet enough idiosyncrasies remain to ensure you won't mistake it for the work of anybody else. More than enough. The macabre horrorcore of 'Scream' - effectively a showcase for Taiwanese rapper Aristophanes, who Boucher discovered on Soundcloud - might sit incongruously on the tracklisting, but it's also a winking acknowledgement that even as her sound broadens, Grimes' determinedly-weird ethos remains delightfully intact.
By embracing the pop orthodoxy, you might argue that Boucher has sacrificed some of what made her seem so alien when 4AD debut 'Visions' emerged from the ether back in 2012, but rest assured: she's still laughing and not being normal, only this time, it's all the way to the bank.
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