01. Another Color
02. Work From Home
06. I Don’t Understand That Man 7. Slim Baby
08. Down in the Boondocks
10. North on 45
While she has been lumped in with other DIY solo artists of lo-fi repute, such as Inca Ore or Sally Strobelight, Meghan Remy has unwaveringly declared her influences lie with oldies radio and the distinctly American songcraft of writers like Tom Petty and Bruce Springsteen (whom she covered to startling effect on Introducing...). Perhaps even more accurately she can be described as a modern pop revisionist who merges the audible artistic honesty of her beloved soul music with lyrical strains of static and tape hiss.
Gem will doubtless be remarked on for to its “improved” fidelity, its focus on arrangementand production, and most of all, its emphasis on directly delivered and strikingly present vocals. But these qualities speak little to the essence of the maturation that Gem is witness to. Present from the beginning but vibrantly defined now are themes that greatly contrast with the newfound sonic approachability. Where before she appeared shrouded and even mysterious, Remy now directly addresses her take on childhood, gender inequality, sex work, and love with a distinctive blend of elegance and frankness uncommon to many contemporary songwriters. Indeed Gem exudes a playful authenticity that is entirely inconspicuous within today's pop music. Merging a fascination with glam rock as interpreted by the anti-excess of Patti Smith, these new songs sparkle between the poles of an inverted take on Bolan's Pop testosterone and the alienating abstraction of Throbbing Gristle.
What started in 2010 as an apparently tentative stab at collaboration--visiting Toronto to record 'The Island Song' with Canadian musician Slim Twig, has now become standard operating procedure. Starting with their split on Palmist Records, continuing with U.S. Girls on Kraak, and now extending into her latest release, Slim Twig has acted as producer, mixer and general foil. While gradually upping the pop ante, these recent releases have sought to maintain Remy's directly emotional appeal and lead to the release of the appropriately titled Gem. Slim's own musical lexicon sees his predilection for ornate productions streamlined on Gem into tight constructions, as evidenced by the minimalist soul pop of 'Work From Home' and 'North on 45' (both co-written by Remy & Twig), or the glam stomp of 'Slim Baby' & 'Jack' (the latter a Brock Robinson cover song originally covered by friends, Danava). Recorded in studio on Toronto Island, and on the mainland in a rehearsal space, Gem is a record as rarefied as its namesake.