Grimes - Autopia (Lo)

The moniker might hint at something with a bit of dirt involved but self-trained singer/musician Claire Boucher has her eyes firmly pitched on the ethereal rather than the gutter.

Released Mar 24th, 2011 via Lo / By Norman Miller
Grimes - Autopia (Lo) 23-years-old and French-Canadian, Boucher namechecks a lot of genres by way of influence for this project (Industrial, Hip Hop, Shoegaze) but for way too much of the album this is basically like a squeakier version of the Cocteaus done as 80s synth pop - and if that sounds like an uneasy combination it is, since the end result comes across like an uptempo Enya with a few quirks chucked in.

When she's not trying to sound like something you'd play at a posh spa to get people out of the flotation tank, Grimes does show flashes of untapped depths. In particular, she sets up several tracks promisingly but then lets them dissolve into a sonic mush of dull beats and ethereal caterwauling.

'Weregild' kicks off with choppy electronics that could be Bjork five years back, while 'Rasik' begins like some new slice of glacial Icelandic pop that then melts into slush. Ditto the promising neo-industrial judders that open 'Dragvandil', the soaring electronic strings in 'Dream Fortress', etc. In the end, though, every track gets smothered by vocals that sound like someone who can't speak Japanese trying to sing in Japanese.

Perhaps if she could bring herself not to sing she could focus on her musical inventiveness. Otherwise, very disappointing.