The first important thing to note about U.S. Girls is that they’re not from the U.S. and in fact there is no girls, just girl. Toronto native Meghan Remy has made a name for her solo project by creating haunted pop music that falls clearly into the DIY/Lo-Fi category. The homemade essence of this music may make for a rougher sound, with plenty of noise thrown into the mix, but if you can peer through the muck you’ll find that Remy is a capable songwriter with a good ear for pop music.
Much of GEM, Remy’s fourth proper full length as U.S. Girls, plays with the interesting juxtaposition of the rough edged DIY aesthetic she’s developed and the sweeter pop leanings she exhibits. For example, the dark reverb soaked corridors of ‘Don’t Understand That Man’ and the desolation of ‘Another Color’ would be somewhat grating to listen to if it weren’t for Remy’s glammed out Patti Smith-esque vocals that add a pleasant catchiness to an otherwise bleak outlook.
The pop music makeover continues on the synthy glam of ‘Work From Home,’ Remy’s cover of Brock Robinson’s ‘Jack,’ and the dusty highway dread of ‘Rosemary.’ Remy chooses a discordant and dark palette to paint with throughout this album, but she makes accessible music from it nonetheless.
GEM is an ambitious album for sure, and Remy stated that she wanted to make something that ‘pays homage to the things that I love in the past, but when you hear it, you know it’s from now’. She’s certainly achieved that here as she expertly conjures up the sounds of classic artists like T. Rex and Royal Trux, as well as more contemporary artists like Julia Holter and PJ Harvey to make her own brand of deconstructed pop music.