From only the first glimpse, Vancouver-born electronic artist Grimes has guaranteed her upcoming album Art Angels to be a joyride of a record. The first single, "Flesh, Without Blood," released last night with accompanying video including another song, "Life in the Vivid Dream," hit listeners like a shot of adrenaline. Everything about the track is exciting, from the vocals to the guitar, played by Grimes herself. Paired with the video's vivid colors and dark yet whimsical scenes, patience for the album's release, November 6th, is wearing thinner with each view. Purists can rest easy knowing that although the track has some pop vibes, it does share some trademark Grimes qualities found in her previous work. It is nonetheless thrillingly different and I am ecstatic to see an artist expand and take risks the way that Grimes has in "Flesh, Without Blood."
As an artist, Grimes is in complete control of her sound and image, despite being recently signed to Jay-Z's massive label, Roc Nation. The lyrics on her latest track are clearly evocative of this insistence for agency. Singing about a failed relationship, Grimes does not come off as bitter or mourning, but instead self-assured in her choice to end it and eager to “close the window” and move on. Compared to past songs like the haunting "Skin" or soft-spoken "Oblivion," her vocals in this latest release are heartier and assertive. "Flesh, Without Blood" maintains elements of Grimes' signature echoing vocals found on past work, yet they are elevated to match the intensity of this track. Layered with heavy bass and strong, steady guitar, the song moves at the speed of light and conjures up images of shooting through space in an interstellar epic. The overall result is electrifying.
Out of all the over-the-top costumes in the video for the single, my favourite is with Grimes in a 70's-style suit, spacey sunglasses and emerald hat. However, it doesn't feel like a costume at all. Instead it is another example of Grimes running the show, as the outfit clearly connotes "the boss" compared to her counterparts dressed in party clothes. It is inspiring to see her own not only the looks, but the identities they bring to mind, as Grimes really is her own Boss. When she is running the show, listeners can experience her unfiltered creativity. What makes her music so enjoyable to listen to are the layers of sound and influences that unveil themselves without pretense. Her songs are not pared down to be consistent with trends or themes. In an interview with BBC Radio 1 DJ Annie Mac who premiered the song on her radio show last night, Grimes revealed that although "Flesh, Without Blood" is upbeat and optimistic, each song on the upcoming album will have their own co-existing vibe. As for the name of the record, Art Angels, Grimes expressed that her Art Angels are characters of inspiration in her head. The record will feature artwork from Grimes herself for each track. I am most looking forward to "Venus Fly," a collaboration with the incredible Janelle Monáe. Not surprisingly, Grimes' Montreal and Toronto shows for her Rhinestone Cowgirl tour sold out within minutes. Although I was not lucky enough to nab tickets before they disappeared, I saw Grimes perform a few years ago in Toronto, opening for Swedish artist Lykke Li. Concertgoers can look forward to a spectacular night, as Grimes consistently brings her astounding talent and energy to her live shows. To keep up-to-date with the artist, follow her on twitter.