U.S. Girls U.S. GirlsGEM

7.7 / 10

Meghan Remy has evolved a lot since her noisy, lo-fi beginnings with albums like “Go Grey”. In only two years, she has gone from being a promising DIY artist to having a much stronger sound, thanks to the collaboration of Slim Twig, who actively participates in “GEM”, in both production and composition. She also has a whole band now, in which Twig himself, Louis Percival and Tim Westberg also participate. The first impression one gets from “GEM” is that it’s an album that is very carefully produced, undeniably recorded with more resources, and apparently more conventional... but it only seems conventional at first, because although it is true that we don’t have dark experiments like those on “Red for Radio”, there is still that dark, nonconformist element that characterises U.S. Girls.

In a sense, this album picks up where Remy left off with “U.S. Girls On KRAAK”, which started to turn towards the sophistication of dreamy atmospheres achieved in “GEM”. One way of describing the album to a newcomer would be to tell them to imagine Phil Spector’s productions, Suzy Quatro’s melodies, and Marc Bolan’s glam. But the album also has roots in Siouxsie and The Banshees, and even in the purest “Myth” Beach House dream pop. In spite of this, “GEM” doesn’t bomb, and it isn’t a pastiche; on the contrary, its coherence is surprising, and it turns out to be a perfect canvas of the past and present of U.S. Girls. The riskier, more experimental past would be reflected in “Don't Understand That Man” and “Curves”, songs that Remy could have written in the beginning if she had had the resources that she does now, while the present can indubitably be found in “North On 45”, a song in which she condenses the spirit of the entire album into just over four minutes.

Remy has sacrificed the experimental in the interest of attaining a well-rounded sound, and although fans of lo-fi production might not be into it, the result places U.S. Girls in the terrain somewhere between sophisticated pop and dark electronica, where, depending on how Remy goes, the results might be very interesting.

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