This track is a monster..
This track is a monster..
I love this song. It reminds me of something you would hear in a Wes Anderson film.
The only thing that I do not like about this album is it’s title. Please don’t let this put you off. So, who or what is U.S. Girls. ? Meg Remy is an American living in Canadia-land, hence the joke-come-band name U.S. Girls. She is to U.S. Girls what James Murphy is to LCD Soundsystem. The beating heart. The reason for it’s existence. Basically, an artist with a backing band. I’ve been ‘aware’ of her for some time and new I was supposed to like what she did. I nearly chose the 2015 album Half Free as AOTM but didn’t feel that I’d loved it enough to justify the choice. Each time I listened to it I really like it but I was not drawn to it enough to recommend. Apparently Half Free was a watershed recording for Meg in that she allowed others to have some input. ‘In a Poem Unlimited’ she has worked much more deeply with others. The result is amazing. It’s opened up what she has always done and injected more influences, excitement and fun into the output.
This is an album of unashamed pop music. With teeth. And power. And politics. And a very 2018 ‘vibe’ to much of the lyrical content. But pop music is the first thing you’ll hear. The most negative review I could find criticised the album because the music was so good that you didn’t notice the importance of the lyrics. That seems to be the worst thing that the critics could find.
There are so many hooks for you to hang on to and drag you into a second listen. There’s no point in me listing my favourite tracks as they all qualify and my favourites rotate depending on mood and context. So who does she sound like? At times she channels PJ Harvey, St. Vincent, Gwen Stefani and even Kylie Minogue and I know I’ve missed a load of references that I’ve heard on my many listens.
I am intrigued to know how you guys feel about this album. I usually love the singularity of output from a solo artist but this album feels like proof that often injecting others influence results in a well rounded and undeniable triumph. Enjoy.
This makes me want to go to the rave.
Back in the day (’84) they used to make tracks like this …
Happy Friday morning brothers, a nice little gem to get things moving.
Sometimes you enjoy a band, but you know they could be so much more. And you will them into becoming that thing, and so often, that just doesn’t happen. They plough the same furrow with decreasingly fruitful results, until, by album three, you feel something die inside you and you know your relationship with them is over.
I’m always keeping an eye on the local music scene in Leeds. It’s not a bad scene and it always has some bands worth listening to, but often they peter out before they get going. I first noticed there was a bit new psyche thing going a few years ago, and some of it actually seemed really good. At the forefront of that were Hookworms. They’ve made two really solid albums, the first building on the first and expanding its sound. But they were solidly PSYCH albums, sounding something like this:
I’d seen them live and I’m partial to a bit of Krautrock, so it was right in my wheelhouse, but they are REALLY good live, and a lot more punky that you might think, but they weren’t exactly inventing the wheel (to complete the wheel related references). I remember thinking, rather fancifully like a twat, that they were ‘Austerity Psych’ – psych rock channelling the anger of our era in a Northern city.
And then an absence of a couple of years. And then, a month or two ago, I hear THIS on 6Music:
And my mind is blown. THAT is Hookworms? Sweet Jesus, yes. It’s Hookworms having babies with New Order, LCD Soundsystem and every other slice of dance rock heaven you could ever imagine. Everything has gone widescreen. The lead singer, MJ, one of rock’s more unlikely looking lead singers, has no longer hidden his voice behind acres of reverb, and wow, he actually has an amazing voice. The ANGER and the punk attitude is still there (this is, after all, about depression and dealing with the death of a friend), but what a canvas to paint it on.
And then came the album, and the fear that this one truly amazing song would be sat amongst a load of psych songs of old, standing out like a sore thing. Not a bit of it. STATIC RESISTANCE is probably the closest thing to Hookworms of old, but even that has crispness and urgency to it that really stands out. It’s a GREAT Track 2:
It doesn’t let up from there. ULLSWATER is another banger, to rival NEGATIVE SPACE, as is OPENER, which feels almost joyful. And then there’s the other surprise – the soft, almost balladeering underbelly of a band that with hitherto all hard Krautrock beats. THE SOFT SEASON is sweet and moving, and EACH TIME WE PASS is, well, actually quite dreamy!
I think this a major piece of work. It works totally as an album and a vision, and it’s rewarded me every time I’ve played it.
Finally, can we talk about the sequencing? Brother Joey, I know it’s a bugbear of yours and mine when a good album is badly sequenced. Just how beautifully sequenced is this? ULLSWATER as a Track 3 basically says – yes, the whole album is as good as this. And then THE SOFT SEASON is that sudden blast of tenderness that opens out the whole album’s palette. And at the back end, SHORTCOMINGS has got to be the best closer to an album I’ve heard in a long time. It’s up there with my favourite songs on the whole thing – James Murphy would be proud of that one.
It’s only March but I can’t see this not being one of my albums of the year.
So yeah, sometimes those bands you invest in do reward you by turning into something much bigger than you’d ever imagined…