Boomkat Product Review:
Spritely harbinger of doom Grimes coughs up her long-in-the-making grungy riffs on climate change and modern worries in a hugely anticipated 5th album of puckered, penetrative pop brilliance.
Under the ‘Miss Anthropocene’ mantle, Canada’s Claire Boucher aka Grimes transmutes the psychic anxiety of modern life into a 10 song concept album about an “anthropomorphic goddess of climate change”. The record has a much darker vibe than 2015’s ‘Art Angels’, and sees her craftily come to own the media’s implications that she’s some sort of “villain” due to her relationship with Tesla founder and multibillionaire, Elon Musk; taking on a sort of anti-hero role or caricature inspired as much by fictional characters such as The Joker as the gods of Roman mythology in order to personalise and make relatable the almost hard-to-grasp scale of climate change, rather than guilt-trip you into doing your recycling.
It’s surely fair to say that ‘Miss Anthropocene’ is the ultimate manifestation of Grimes bittersweet style of cyberpunk techno-pop. All the ideas found on her run of albums since 2010’s ‘Halfaxa’ are now distilled and refined into a sound that hits the spot dead-on, twisting the last 25 years of emosh pop and prevailing underground trends - from grunge and nu-metal to ethereal wave styles - into her singular, subversively ironic strain of wavey techno-pop. It’s a sound that will surely resonate with anyone over the age of 30, and we can only hope that the irony isn’t lost on youngsters taking up the fight against climate change in earnest, as Grimes’ POV appears to acknowledge and smudge a subtle cognitive dissonance between the broad sections of society termed boomers, Generation X, Xenniels, Millennials, and Generation Alpha thru her self-produced and written palette of sonic and lyrical references.
From the cold breeze of LP opener ’So Heavy I Fell Through The Earth (Algorithm Mix)’, with vocals placed high in the mix over stark, roiling electro, to the relative optimism of ‘Idoru (Algorithm Mix)’, which is flush thru with bittersweet melodies recalling her early records, the album is a richly absorbing and entertaining experience, enlivened with mutual souls such as Pan Wei-Ju on highlight ‘Darkseid’, and I_o in the proper power pop of single track ‘Violence’, which shares a confidence in common with ‘My Name Is Dark (Algorithm Mix)’, while ‘You’ll Miss Me When I’m Not Around’ mixes cartoonish and melancholy in equal measures, and ‘Before The Fever’ highlights the generational/stylistic/emotional difference between Grimes heart-on-sleeve style of pop and, say, the numb shrug-pop of Billie Eilish.