Published Feb 09, 2018In interviews since Meg Remy's last album as U.S. Girls, 2015's Half Free, she indicated that her next batch of songs would be more direct, less polite. "The lyrics are getting, I think, way more violent," she told ChartAttack in 2016. "I'm dissecting violence a lot more because it's something I don't relate with, and yet it's everywhere."
That's immediately evident on In a Poem Unlimited; the record begins with "Velvet 4 Sale," a breathy percussion-propelled groove whose lyrics depict one woman imploring her friend to get a gun and confront the man who's abused her: "Don't offer no reason," she sings; "Instil in them the fear that comes from being prey."
It's one of many dark, complex moments here — "Mad As Hell" attempts to reconcile Obama's charismatic public image with his trigger-happy drone strikes; "Incidental Boogie" sympathizes with a woman who equates physical abuse with love; and in the aforementioned "Velvet 4 Sale," what could have been a simple revenge narrative gets conflicted and nuanced when the woman acknowledges that the violence "will surely go against your nature."
Remy balances the darkness with a rich, playful palette of synth textures, vibrant disco timbres and funk rhythms that variously evoke Isaac Hayes, Donna Summer, Curtis Mayfield and David Bowie's Young Americans/Station to Station era. Groovy and scintillating, but with depth and meaning to spare, In a Poem Unlimited is U.S. Girls — and pop music — at its very best. (Royal Mountain Records)