Meg Remy’s debut release for 4AD is strikingly feminist and confrontational; the leadingly titled ‘Half Free’ hinting at the politically charged lyrics within. But while the subject matter is anything but, the musical influences are subtle and adopted masterfully. At its best, soulful vocals poignantly juxtapose against classic pop hooks, as in the Best Coast slice of bubblegum, glam punk ‘Sed Knife’. Remy though is concerned less with stoned boyfriends and surfing and more with abusive relationships and sexism as on opener ‘Sororal Feelings’, brilliantly conveying heartbreak and struggle in a fuzzy, Dirty Beaches style loop that conveys dragging despair.

Elsewhere there’s the ’80s videogame soul of ‘Navy & Cream’ and the dancefloor wonk of the dubby ‘Damn That Valley’, sang by a war widow. On occasion U.S. Girls loses sight of her pop sensibility and comes across a little po-faced (‘New Age Thriller’ and the didactic ‘Woman’s Work’), but these moments are few and far between. It’s indicative of how diverse and accomplished the album is that the four best tracks are of completely different genres and seem anything but forced.

Read our interview with Meg Remy in Loud And Quiet 70


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