U.S. Girls - Gem
Sometimes an artist can be around for so long, they can create so much and still not be on that platform you expect them to be on. U.S. Girls is the moniker for the talented Chicago based musician Megan Remy, and Remy seems to be in that category mentioned above. It's hard to believe that Remy has released a few LPs and numerous other mixes and EPs since 2008, yet a breakthrough hasn't arrived until the 2012 release of her fourth album Gem.
For those not familiar with U.S. Girls, you were probably expecting a couple of girls creating dream pop or chillwave, or a couple starlets in red, white and blue spitting in the face of the American government. No matter what you were thinking, I bet it wasn't a young woman creating a style of music which would easily be described as 'loner music' based around spending life alone. Add a heavy amount of reverb to her vocals and you get this imagery of Remy being in complete solitude as she sings these songs.
You may feel like this sounds really depressing and as the winter approaches, it may not be the right album to listen to. However Remy manages to mix up a few different genres on Gem to make it quite a positive listen. She may not have dared to do this in previous releases, but it seems her work with producer Slim Twig has pushed Remy outside her comfort zone. This means she's creating songs with a little bit more pop sensibility; vocals are clearer and production is crisper but that deep emotional undertone Remy places in her songs is still visible.
The album drifts between glam rock, blues pop and gloomy electro; three very different styles of music for just one artist to pull off. Remy pulls of some better then others, the gloomy electro vibes of 'Rosemary' are really daunting as she sings the lyrics with real anguish in her voice. However it seems to be an upbeat pop song which shines above the other tracks on this album; this comes courtesy of 'Work From Home'. It's a song which has an anthemic quality to it, sparkling in the form of eighties styled bubblegum pop.
As the album comes to an end with Remy driving away 'North on 45', you just know she'll be taking that journey alone. You may call her a loner, but many artists have embodied themselves in a lonely obsession and created brilliant music from it; just look at Grimes or Youth Lagoon. Remy may not have that same spark as to when them two artists released their debuts, but she has got that same lonely aura which is occasionally captivating on this new record.