U.S. Girls Reward Endurance on Go Grey

U.S. Girls

Go Grey (Siltbreeze)

Megan Remy makes blaring, disorienting music—guitars that sound like construction sites, drums echoing away in the distance like death's own recycling bin—but it is rooted in rock and pop forms, or at least built on their skeletons. Like a lot of great punk rock, her songs are partly assaults on themselves. Remy, who tours with nothing more than a reel-to-reel deck and a microphone, is interested in aural sensation, the experience of noise, the border between comfort and discomfort, the point where melody dissolves into squall.

Go Grey, her second album as U.S. Girls, is maybe more song-oriented than her 2008 debut (which included an almost unrecognizable cover of Bruce Springsteen's "Prove It All Night"). But don't misread that as accessible, exactly. She still makes even fellow Siltbreeze fuzzmonsters like Eat Skull and Psychedelic Horseshit seem approachable by comparison. It is almost impossible to describe a song like "His Son's Future," which begins as luminescent guitar figures and dissipates into a haze of reverb and drone and tinkling bells. It is gorgeous and unsettling at the same time. Or "The Mountain's High," an apocalyptic, witchy incantation set to a fusillade of tom-toms. The ostensible single, "Red Ford Radio," is as close to conventional as Remy gets, and it's actually sort of catchy, but it's basically just a distorted, nearly a cappella sing-song melody that wanders defiantly off-key. Not for everyone, obviously, and really not for many people, probably. But it's a bracing record, with challenges and rewards that go well beyond its scabrous surface.