Remo Drive – Greatest Hits (2017/2018)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/48 kHz | Time – 37:13 minutes | 470 MB | Genre: Alternative
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download – Source: Qobuz | Front Cover | © Epitaph
Remo Drive is an American emo band from Bloomington, Minnesota. They are currently signed to Epitaph Records. The label has also reissued Remo Drive’s full-length debut. Originally self-released in 2017, the long-sold-out album is now available on CD and vinyl. Remo Drive is typically described as an emo band who incorporate elements of indie rock, pop punk, dance punk, post-hardcore, and punk rock. The group has also self described themselves as emo and associated themselves with the emo revival. The band has listed a number of acts as influences including Title Fight, The Police, PUP, Jeff Rosenstock, Vampire Weekend, and Weezer.
Remo Drive consists of brothers Erik (age 20) and Stephen Paulson (age 22), who formed the band in high school in 2013. Initially inspired by “older kids who smoked weed and listened to Title Fight,” the duo soon introduced elements of ’90s grunge and classic rock to create their own dynamic and deeply catchy sound.
Remo Drive’s debut album, Greatest Hits, is an exhilarating 37 minutes of emo flavored pop punk done right. This Minneapolis trio’s debut full length sounds like something straight out of the SideOneDummy playbook with the aesthetic of Pup, the sugarcoated lyrical bitterness of Jeff Rosenstock, and the sonic quirk of AJJ. Greatest Hits kicks off with the exhilarating “Art School”. After a few measures of simple, yet anticipation-building measures of percussion and feedback, the track’s driving guitar riff kicks in, hitting a perfect spot, from a production standpoint, between the soothing bassline mimicking it and the crisp drum tones. Immediately ensuing this hypnotizing riff’s release, we are greeted to a more spacious, and reverb-heavy, verse, perfectly contrasting the tightly knit hook preceding it. This sound is more standard throughout the album, as Remo Drive, like many contemporary indie acts, seems to be attracted to the bright energy of reverb. The difference here is that, while other bands use the effect as an aesthetic to drown out a lack of creative songwriting, Remo Drive’s use of reverb mainly serves to enhance already well crafted guitar parts and fill in the gap which the suspension of powerchords can sometimes leave in a three piece act with no rhythm guitar. The transition into “Hunting For Sport” from the opener is so seamless that, upon my first few listens, I wasn’t able to identify it without looking. Overall, this is a pretty mellow cut and it fits in with the album pretty smoothly, but doesn’t really seems to go anywhere. The track is born out of its predecessor and merely coasts along to its conclusion. Though “Hunting For Sport” comes off as, more or less, filler, that’s really my only qualm with it. It’s easily forgettable, but its quality writing isn’t lost on me, and as the most lackluster song on the album, it’s only lackluster in a relative sense. This rings especially true, as the track is followed up by the front half of Greatests Hits’ strongest moment, “Crash Test Ratin. “Crash Test Rating” hit’s hard right off the bat with the instantly catchy juxtaposition of the heavy, yet melodic, guitar tones against the subdued passages of muted rhythm guitar passages preceding a foreshadowing of the song’s pre chorus, but swiftly swerving back into the verse. “Crash Test Rating”’s chorus hits with a fun, bouncy energy, which excellently exemplifies the band’s lively spirit. The bridge provides a nice comedown and really solidifies “Crash Test Rating” as an early standout single in Remo Drive’s career. Greatest Hits goes out with some of its strongest moments in the last four tracks. “Trying 2 Fool U” is definitely a standout moment and quickly became my favorite cut aside from the track it precedes. The track gets off to a slow, subdued start, but triumphs in its amplitudinal dynamism, which, towards the end of the track, transforms into temporal dynamism and culminates in a build, setting up its successor beautifully. The void which the crashing termination of “Trying 2 Fool U” leave, makes the contrast of vocalist, Erik Paulson’s solo in the first few seconds of “Yer Killing Me” really pop. From there, “Yer Killing Me” is a rollercoaster: one of the most fun songs I’ve heard in a long time. The clever bitterness of the lyrics and the vigor with which they are delivered really sets this banger apart. It’s just impossible not to at least crack a smile at the nuanced ways with which the band addresses the otherwise overplayed topic of hatred for a particular person such as the pre choruses which play out respectively as “you make me want to start smoking cigarettes so I die slowly” and “you make me want to start rolling badass blunts ‘til I start choking”. “I’m My Own Doctor” was a song that took a while to grow on me, but when it did, it clicked hard. From the get go, “I’m My Own Doctor” is crafted as a sing along anthem, reminiscent of the little Title Fight I’ve listened to, but as it progresses the track serves as yet another showcase of the band’s quality writing. Finally, “Name Brand”, Greatest Hits’ triumphant closer, comes crashing in with a dizzying guitar loop and a pummeling drum part backing it up before dropping into the band’s signature subdued verse. The refrain on the record’s closer is a bit off putting, yet intriguing with Paulson’s vocal medley cracking all over, until the composition moves into its second act and comes down significantly before going out with a bang in it’s final minute. In these 37 minutes, Remo Drive proves their potential as emerging figures in the indie and emo scenes. I haven’t heard a record so dripping with youthful energy in quite a while and it’s quite refreshing. I can say with quite a bit of confidence that, if you don’t check this band out now, they will come back around to you somewhere down the road.
01 – Art School
02 – Hunting For Sport
03 – Crash Test Rating
04 – Strawberita
05 – Summertime
06 – Eat Shit
07 – Trying 2 Fool U
08 – Yer Killin’ Me
09 – I’m My Own Doctor
10 – Name Brand