Album review: Remo Drive’s “Greatest Hits” helps to usher in a new era of emo
The genre of emo has gone through many twists and turns since its so-called “establishment” in the ’90s with bands like Sunny Day Real Estate and Jimmy Eat World, going in and out of style and popularity. There is currently a movement within the underground subculture of music which has been labeled the “emo revival” — bands taking influences from emo bands that have spawned over the past two decades, but putting their own spin on the style as well. Minnesota-based “dance punk” trio Remo Drive have just joined the ranks of the revival with the release of their debut studio album, “Greatest Hits.”
Remo Drive does not have an extensive catalog — since 2014, they’ve released a handful of demos, singles and a split release. The band’s leading single for the record, “Yer Killin’ Me,” blew up after popular music blogger Anthony Fantano shared the music video on his social media platforms, exposing his legions of dedicated fans to Remo Drive. Since that explosion in popularity, the band has gathered a cult-like following, with listeners eagerly anticipating the release of each of their different singles before “Greatest Hits” came out — “Crash Test Rating,” “Eat Shit” and “Art School.”
The record dropped on March 16, and is a 10-song collection of punk and emo anthems, clocking in at just under-40 minutes in length. The most recently released single “Art School” opens up the album and is an upbeat, poppy track fueled by fuzzy guitar riffs and vocalist/guitarist Erik Paulson’s crooning voice. His melodies and lyrics are infectiously catchy and act moreso as a compliment to the instrumental, rather than the other way around.
“Greatest Hits” is constantly alternating between fast and slower songs, and feels almost perfectly balanced between the two. Paulson’s lyrics prove to be more than just catchy, as he wanders into humorous and relatable territory. On “Eat Shit,” Paulson laments over his ever-present injuries due to (presumably) skateboarding, expressing an embarrassment at the fact that “all [his] friends are growing up,” but he “eats shit daily.” On “Yer Killin’ Me,” his lyrics are morbidly funny, as he informs the target of the lyrics that they “make [him] want to start smoking cigarettes so [he] dies slowly.”
All in all, “Greatest Hits” is an excellent collection of tracks that seem to flow effortlessly into one another. Although Paulson’s vocals are a pleasant inclusion, the main focus of a good portion of the record is on the instruments. There are also a handful of instrumental passages on tracks like “Hunting For Sport,” “Trying 2 Fool U” and “Name Brand.” Remo Drive has managed to craft a record that is both incredibly accessible to outsiders, and exceedingly satisfying to their niche market.
Keep an eye on Remo Drive: their popularity will only continue to climb throughout the year.
Tracks to listen to:
“Yer Killin’ Me”