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'Heavy Light' Review: US Girls album is a percussive '70s cocktail of contemporary jazz and pop

Meg Remy will tour in North America with Bonjay, Jack Name and Mourning [A] BLKstar this year
UPDATED MAR 19, 2020
(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Experimental pop group US Girls have released their new album 'Heavy Light' on March 6. The new studio LP acts as a follow-up to 'In A Poem Unlimited', the critically-acclaimed studio album, which released in 2018. 

The pluralized name, US Girls, presents itself as collective thoughts of a group of artists, but it is rather the moniker and brainchild of Meg Remy. This multi-talented, multi-faceted artist, in true Remy form, has given fans a new record that sings as an intertwined art piece of many a texture and layer within its rich recording. 'Heavy Light' is Meg Remy's seventh studio release.

'Heavy Light' was recorded live with 20 session musicians, including saxophonist Jake Clemons of E Street Band and produced by the Toronto singer in Montreal's acclaimed studio, Hotel 2 Tango. Co-written by Basia Bulat and Rich Morel, Remy has used a contemporary '70s soft pop as her musical apparatus on the LP, delivered with sybaritic, jazzy vocals with subtle nostalgic retouches to the days of Carpenters or Carole King.

According to a statement, the songs led by Remy were "conceived as a balance between orchestral percussion", arranged by percussionist Ed Squires, "and the human voice", conducted by Kritty Uranowski, that "share reflections on childhood experiences that are collaged into moving spoken word interludes throughout the album". The album is mixed by Maximilian ‘Twig’ Turnbull, Steve Chahley and Tony Price, who are long-time collaborators of Remy.

'Heavy Light' cover art (Press Handout)

Recounting personal narratives, 'Heavy Light' lists as an introspective piece, sharing both personal and cultural as hindsight and a reflection on social politics. In the 8th track of 'Heavy Light', we get an example of that. The song opens with personal accounts from the LGBTQ community who tell their painful stories growing up with their sexual orientations before the melancholic music kicks in. Remy takes notions such as these with the inclusion of three reworked songs: ‘Statehouse (It’s A Man’s World)’, ‘Red Ford Radio’ and ‘Overtime’.

'Red Ford Radio' and ‘Statehouse (It’s A Man’s World)’, pair as companions as they both play out like war cries with their heavy-burdened military-style drumming and build-up of angst. The latter adds an extraterrestrial melody as if sending out radio signals to those who care to listen. 

While the previously mentioned songs appear as the more obscure musical numbers on 'Heavy Light', the new album has a smooth cocktail of melodic and harmonious tracks. The first song '4 American Dollars' comes in strong with '70s themes, with twanging electric guitars, funky basslines and congas/bongos as the percussive drive forward on the mid-tempo track. 'IOU' and 'Woodstock '99' give us a nostalgic trip to popular piano ballads similar to that of Elton John's numbers or Kiki Dee.

'And Yet It Moves / Y Se Mueve', an English/Spanish track, features beautiful percussion. Between shaker instruments, bongos/congas, xylophone, strings, a hip-hop-inspired beat plays and we get a good example of the powerful orchestration on 'Heavy Light'.

Remy will tour in North America with Bonjay, Jack Name and Mourning [A] BLKstar this year. See the dates below.

April 4: Detroit, MI @ MOCAD *
April 5: Chicago, IL @ Lincoln Hall *
April 6: Madison, WI @ Majestic Theatre *
April 7: Minneapolis, MN @ Cedar Cultural Center *
April 9: Omaha, NE @ Slowdown *
April 10: Kansas City, MO @ Record Bar *
April 12: Denver, CO @ Bluebird Theatre *
April 13: Salt Lake City, UT @ Metro Music Hall *
April 14: Boise, ID @ The Olympic *
April 16: Vancouver, BC @ Imperial *
April 17: Seattle, WA @ Crocodile *
April 18: Portland, OR @ Mississippi Studios *
April 20: San Francisco, CA @ The Independent *
April 21: San Jose, CA @ The Ritz *
April 22: Los Angeles, CA @ Masonic Lodge Hollywood Forever ^
April 23: Los Angeles, CA @ Masonic Lodge Hollywood Forever *
April 24: Phoenix, AZ @ Valley Bar *
April 25: Tucson, AZ @ 191 Toole *
April 27: Austin, TX @ Antone’s *
April 28: Dallas, TX @ Club Dada *
April 29: Houston, TX @ Continental Club * 
May 1: Memphis, TN @ The Greenroom at Crosstown Arts *
May 2: Nashville, TN @ Exit/In *
May 3: Asheville, NC @ Grey Eagle *
May 5: Washington, DC @ U Street ~
May 6: Brooklyn, NY @ Music Hall of Williamsburg ~
May 7: Boston, MA @ Sinclair ~
May 8: Philadelphia, PA @ World Cafe Live ~
May 16: Toronto, ON @ Opera House ~
October 14: London, UK @ Queen Elizabeth Hall

* w/ Bonjay
^ w/ Jack Name
~ w/ Mourning [A] BLKstar