Record Roundup: Grimes goes post-apocalyptic, King Krule stays bleak, the buzz behind U.S. Girls
A (quick) critical rundown on three recent albums.
Occasionally, Entertainment Weekly publishes short reviews on some of the best records of the month. Today's edition tackles the latest from U.S. Girls, Grimes, and King Krule.
U.S. Girls – Heavy Light
Meg Remy wrote the last six U.S. Girls albums through the lens of other characters. With Heavy Light, she shines the spotlight on herself. Between disco beats ("4 American Dollars"), mournful ballads ("IOU"), and lounge music ("Overtime") are therapeutic interludes where questions both important and innocuous are posed (What would you tell your teenage self? What color was your childhood bedroom?). A rush of indelible non sequiturs — vibraphone solos, ripsaws — gives it all an unexpectedly thrilling buzz, like stumbling onto a late-night jam session where vulnerable musicians talk, laugh, and play through their issues. (AS) A-
Grimes – Miss Anthropocene
Artist/noted artificial-intelligence enthusiast Claire Boucher, better known as singer-producer Grimes, is here to soothe your fears about the future — or, at the very least, adjust the climate-change narrative by giving it its own mascot: the record's self-described "anthropomorphic goddess" namesake, Miss Anthropocene. The result is a menacing new studio album — a post-apocalyptic plummet into the abyss that trades Grimes' comparatively sunnier disposition of her critically acclaimed 2015 LP Art Angels for a mix of trap, nü-metal, and drum and bass. It's heady, it's intoxicating, it's music to listen to while driving your Tesla Model X through a dystopian hellscape. (AS) B
King Krule – Man Alive!
He looks like a wisp of a gingersnap, but the subterranean baritone that emerges from 25-year-old Brit Archy Marshall, a.k.a. King Krule, is still startling, three albums in (four if you count A New Place 2 Drown, which he released under his real name). Krule's sound also seems to defy almost every sensical definition; is it lounge punk? Apocalyptic jazz? Lullabies for goth insomniacs? There's something enveloping about his dense, churning compositions, like falling into a sonic cement mixer. And cinematic, too: "Cellular" could be the soundtrack to a German art film; "Supermarché" is almost a spaghetti Western. But it can be exhausting — a bleakness that begs, eventually, for a little fresh air. (LG) B
CLARIFICATION: The King Krule entry has been updated to reflect that Man Alive! is technically the third King Krule record, not the fourth.