Album Review: Grimes – Halfaxa

Artist: Grimes

Album: Halfaxa

Genre: indie (synthpop)

Grimes

There’s much to be said for someone who can manipulate their voice in seemingly a thousand different ways. The thing that sets Claire Boucher — the mystic figure responsible for the unique blend of synthpop and ambient know as Grimes — apart from her contemporaries, though, is her ability to compress, warp and loop her voice to the point that it becomes an instrument.


“Everything on Halfaxa, from the drum machines to the acoustic guitar plucks, sounds as if it was meticulously placed. They elevate the album, and nicely complement her falsetto.”


 

On Halfaxa, Boucher builds upon the successes of her first album, Geidi Primes, without losing her trademark novelty. Opening interlude “Outer” sets the tone for the entire LP. Murky background synths complement warped, looped vocals— a trend found throughout the album. “Intor/Flowers” follows, with a wonderfully bouncy synth riff to start the song off. The first half of the album in general remains very melodic. “Sagrad Прекрасный” is most certainly the highlight. Boucher tactile use of percussion allows the song to turn into a funky, freaky jam. Perhaps the best example of the beauty of Grimes’ voice is found on “Devon.” The phrase ‘You don’t love me anymore’ is repeated constantly, and Boucher’s chilling voice have never sounded better. The best part about Grimes, though, is that she’s bring more to the table than just a haunting voice. Everything on Halfaxa, from the drum machines to the acoustic guitar plucks, sounds as if it was meticulously placed. They elevate the album, and nicely complement her falsetto.

Claire Elise Boucher, better known by her stage name Grimes, has released three studio albums: Geidi Primes, Halfaxa, and Visions
Claire Elise Boucher, better known by her stage name Grimes, has released three studio albums: Geidi Primes, Halfaxa, and Visions

The second half of Halfaxa begins somewhat darker than the first; “Dream Foretress” and “World Princess” both have a very eerie feel to them. After another of the album’s interlude tunes, which do a good job of preventing the album from feeling like a constant barrage of 5 or so minute songs. As the album runs its course, things like the ritualistic percussion of  “≈Ω≈Ω≈Ω≈Ω≈Ω≈Ω≈Ω≈Ω≈” and the chanting on “My Sister Says The Saddest Things” are noticeable standouts. She saves the most mellifluous song for the end; the  subtle percussion and fluttering guitar are combined with trademark Grimes vocal loops to give the album the closure it deserves. Above all, Boucher does a fantastic job of blending together all the instruments she has available—including the one that’s with her no matter where she goes—to piece together a gem of an album.

Grade: B+

Click to listen to “Sagrad Прекрасный” by Grimes

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