Grimes on Grimes

Rick Grimes from AMC’s “The Walking Dead” 

Grimes, musician signed to Arbutus Records

The Walking Dead” protagonist, Rick Grimes reviews the new album, Visions by Grimes.

Sheriff’s Deputy, Rick Grimes here. Right now I’m hiding out in an abandoned Tower Records delivery truck somewhere on I-85. Once again, I have been separated from my wife and son and the rest of the group and find myself surrounded by hungry Walkers. I’m well hidden in here. It’s now a matter of waiting it out until morning when, I hope, they will have moved on.

The truck is full of boxes of CDs. This reminds me of something Dale said on a night back at camp about how important it is to enjoy the little things we find in what’s left of the world. Since the Walkers took over, opportunities for me to sit down and listen to records have been rare, to say the least. But, I guess if I keep the volume low, it wouldn’t hurt to listen to a little music. Now, to pick a CD…

I don’t know much about modern music. Back before the world ended I used to listen to Warren Zevon and Johnny Cash, but I don’t think I’ll find The Man in Black in any of these boxes. I’ll just put on the first thing I find…

…The cover of Visions by Grimes has a picture of a skull on it that looks like one of the Geeks I shot through the eyeball today. There’s a sticker on the case that says something called gave it 8.5 out of 10. Anyway, I like the name, so I’m gonna listen.

Track #1: “Infinite Love Without Fulfillment”

Oh OK, Grimes is an electro band. I was expecting something a bit heavier. Y’know, because of the cover. This song has a bouncy beat and the lady’s voice is real soft, but I can’t tell what she’s saying because it’s all electronically layered over itself and… Oh it’s over.

Track #2: “Genesis”

This is more like it. The beat on this one has my head nodding and there’s a catchy keyboard scale refrain. She’s still singing real soft, but I like her voice, it has a kind of gentleness to it that I’d forgotten could exist in these harsh times. Sounds like she’s saying something like “My heart will never be another thing / Oh heart another falls, another…” Again, they’re so light over the track that it’s hard to make out the lyrics. I like this song though; it’s nice and poppy, kind of like Madonna in the 80s who my wife Lori and I went to see when we were in High School. Oh God I hope she’s ok. My wife, I mean.

Track #3: “Oblivion”

This intro sounds like it belongs to an arcade game. It makes me think of laser beams and neon gridirons on black backgrounds. I can finally understand the words in this song, but she sings them too high in certain parts and she sounds like a little girl playing Red Rover, especially when she sings the “La-La-La” parts. Other than the Space Invaders intro and a simple hi-hat beat keeping time, there ain’t much else going on with this one. At the end of the song, there’s a slower, deeper part like you’ve reached the end of the level and it’s time to face the boss.

Track #4: “Eight”

Oh brother! It’s just a robot voice with tinny drums and the lady’s highest singing yet on top. Thank God it’s short.

Track #5: “Circumambient”

Either there’s a rescue plane overhead or there’s a sample of one at the start of this song. I could be hallucinating again, but I’m pretty sure it’s part of the song. When he was a little younger, my son Carl had one of those plastic toy microphones that make your words echo inside them. The sound that repeats itself through this song is similar to the one made when you hit one of those plastic echo mics on the side and put your ear up to it. That noise, the vocal, and the beat of this song start off as separate from each other but by half way through they’re all mixed together, like the song is being played through one of those toy mics. I will find you again, Carl. I promise, son.

Track #6: “Vowels = Space and Time”

This one’s a little more up-tempo. There’s a xylophone and a cool synthesizer. It’s more of an old-fashioned pop song than the rest. It has verses and a chorus and different musical parts that happen at different moments, instead of being all overlapping and crowded, like hungry Walkers leading down a tight alley.

Track #7: “Visiting Statue”

I think Grimes used one of the presets on a Casio keyboard to compose this one. Add to that some table drumming and repetitive singing (“So, so, so, so bring it on back / So, so, so, so bring on back”) and you got yourself the seventh track.

Track #8: “Be a Body”

Probably the most ominously titled song on the album, given my current situation. Despite that, this one started off pretty nicely. There’s some synth, some harp, a catchy chorus, but then the song becomes a duet between the lady and a robot that sings in his own language.

Tracks #9-13

Alright, I know I should probably savor this a little longer, but I’m skimming through these last songs. All of them (except the ballad “Skin,” which actually made me a little emotional) are similar to the other eight tracks. I think I’d rather chance it out there with the Geeks than listen to any more post-apocalypse synth-pop. So, with one last check of the four rounds left in my revolver, back into the night I go to face the undead and seek out the living.

–Joseph Ransom