Grimes – The Haunt, Brighton – Live review

Originally published: Clash magazine

Images: Stephen Fourie

When you buy fish and chips in Brighton, you are sent away with a warning: “The seagulls’ll have that, lad, if you’re not careful,” explains the assistant, who looks like he has used the chip fat to craft his sleek hairstyle. I’m but a third of the way through my delightfully battered lunch when I take to the pier, stepping onto its frangible structure and into what can only be described as a scene from Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘The Birds’. Shrieks of “Mine! Mine! Mine!” descend from above, and in one fatal swoop and a flash of white and grey feathers, my food is being taken out to sea. The grimy, briny bastard.

Montreal-based Grimes, aka Claire Boucher, then, is something of an aural saviour to my ambrosial robbery. The 22-year-old’s 2010 debut album ‘Geidi Primes’ has been re-released via No Pain In Pop, and is packed with more ideas than a government-based think tank; the difference being that Boucher’s work – although appearing esoteric on the surface of its pop patina – is as instantly accessible as the likes of Nite Jewel and Destroyer with whom she cuts a similar cloth.

Stood in front of a desk that props up a variety of recording, looping and sound-manipulating devices, Boucher is academic and well-rehearsed in her delivery. Circling the mic in front of her mouth like an X-Factor contestant awkwardly biding their time, she reaches ethereal and angelic vocal highs amid the pre-recorded beats that she drops at the flick of a switch. With the likes of ‘Zoal, Face Dancer’, ‘Rosa’ and ‘Caladan’ being sonically stitched into one another tonight, Boucher’s efforts are as intoxicating as a lilting lullaby.

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