The third release by Montreal indie auteur Claire Boucher, a.k.a. Grimes, keeps floating away. Boucher, who cooked up this music in her bedroom using GarageBand, is full of interesting rhythmic and melodic ideas. At its finest, in songs like "Vowels = space and time" and the sumptuous ballad "Skin," Visions is like Etsy Timbaland: catchy, eerily minimalist electro soul, poked and prodded by unsettling beats. But Boucher's voice is all airy top end: She sounds like the cross between a J-pop pipsqueak and Alvin and the Chipmunks. It's an irksome, sometimes shrill sound; often, her lyrics are unintelligible. The result is an emptiness at the center of the record: Grimes isn't spooky enough to be "ghostly," and not substantial enough to hold your attention.
Listen to "Vowels = space and time":
• Photos: Random Notes