U.S. Girls

Half Free

BY Alan RantaPublished Sep 23, 2015

Illinois-born, Toronto-based Megan Remy has proven her dedication to lo-fi pop weirdness throughout her prolific career in U.S. Girls, but she has finally circled aesthetic perfection with Half Free. Helmed by producer Onakabazien, the knob-twiddler behind her Free Advice Column EP from 2013, and flavoured by contributions from Slim Twig, Ben Cook (Fucked Up) and Amanda Crist (Ice Cream), this is her most complete and, arguably, accessible album yet.
In typical fashion, the sound is all over the map, deconstructing pop tropes from track to track, yet it feels as though everything has been refined. "Sororal Feelings" rolls in sluggishly, sounding like an Odd Nosdam instrumental hip-hop beat as they frame Remy's depressing, folk-ish vocals; "Damn That Valley" hits a psychedelic dub stride, matching Remy's lyrical swagger; "Navy & Cream" has a woozy, vapourwave-like instrumental, in which Remy's modulated vocals lament her falling apart. She channels a diva-esque persona among the disco strings, piano, and bongo of "Window Shades," yet provides muted, sorrowful vocals for the prickly post-folk Timber Timbre creepiness of "Red Comes In Many Shades."

Granted, the guitar and sax rocker "Sed Knife" stands out for the wrong reasons — it's maybe a little too clean and straightforward given the context — but after years of flirting with the fringes, Half Free hits the art-pop bullseye.

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