METERUna’s second album, 2019’s alternative pop play Sbirds the world, it was almost the last. Questioning their future during the pandemic, the Los Angeles-based trio of Katie Gavin, Naomi McPherson and Josette Maskin was later dropped by their major label. However, realizing there was no way to extricate the band from their longstanding friendship, they created a record that vibrates with a newfound freedom. Silk Chiffon, which opens breezily, with new boss Phoebe Bridgers (Muna signed to her label Saddest Factory), feels like opening a window on a rough day, while What I Want, a gargantuan Robyn-esque party-starter about getting drunk like kings in a gay club, it decimates the pent-up frustration of lockdown with each jackhammer chorus.
It’s an opening salvo that establishes the album’s genre-agnosticism, with worn-out country ballads (the lilting Kind of Girl), rubbing shoulders with ’90s pop stomps (No Idea co-writer Mitski mimicking the Backstreet Boys). Meanwhile, the fluttery Loose Garment unites Gavin’s tightrope vocals with an ambient pulse, its lyrical message of learning to let go mirroring the album’s larger lyrical theme. Released from inner and outer shackles, muña feels like phase two for one of the best bands in pop.