Minnesota noughties throw-back rockers Remo Drive have just released their first record audaciously named Greatest Hits. May as well start at the top, eh? Here's what Third Outing thought of Remo Drive's effort after a conversation with front man Erik Paulson.
With the release of Greatest Hits, Remo Drive have proved that our starry eyed memories of yesteryear's Indie Rock 'n' Roll dream days are alive and kicking. Listening to Remo Drive I can't help but feel like I'm back in the summer of 2008; straight out of school, about to embark on years of mop head and questionable fashion decisions. But it was the best time of my life, and with this "greatest hits" release, Remo Drive prove to be my time machine to a better place. And so let's start then with the first single on the new Remo Drive record curiously entitled Art School.
"We love a lot of music from that era.
That riff in particular was originally much slower but
I decided to speed it up after listening to some older punk stuff"
The problem is, it's no longer 2009, and this era of Indie Rock 'n' Roll has all but disappeared. At least, when you hear it now, it feels somewhat dated, a bit like watching episodes of The Inbetweeners on E4. To judge this record on these terms seems somewhat unfair. But still, we kind of can't help it. Yes, the first single Art School is an excellent record when isolated from space and time. Though we don't quite concur with the older punk influence, it is one of the catchiest, upbeat, and sound-trackable records we've had on Third Outing this year. Still, something we can't escape...
...yep, we hate to judge a great record based on something as trivial as decade, but it just doesn't sit right for us as a contemporary piece of music. I'm listening to this and I'm thinking about bands such as Operahouse, Pigeon Detectives, Pete and the Pirates. Again, the sound track of my youth and the greatest of memories, but still memories non the less. I can't help but ask, where have Remo Drive been for the last 10 years to still create this kind of jaunting Indie record? Or am I just looking at this in the wrong way? Are Remo Drive actually genius? Are they the first noughties revivalists to get it absolutely spot on?
"Outside of our DIY community the our reception has always been lukewarm at best. There's a lot of opportunities
here though if you persist"
Alas, maybe I've got what's going on here. You need to delve further into the record to discover it, but this revivalist notion grabs hold when you uncover tracks further down the listing like Summertime, Name Brand, and particularly Yer Killin' Me. There's a punk spirit hidden behind an Indie guise. It's like a combination of thrash and melody, a little bit like what Paws are doing right now in Scotland, giving it some beans but keeping it accessible with melody. In short, a tanked up Indie song from the noughties with an originality from the now. That counts for Yer Killin' Me particularly.
"The end of Yer Killin Me was a very happy accident.I had the
bulk of the song written and that jam section came from
jamming one day.The acoustic ending came
about during the recording process"
This is the most beautiful song on the record, constructed in a way which keeps you on your toes throughout. Is it loud and in your face verses? Reflective Muse-esque choruses? Indie-jangle middle 8 sections? Or best of all, an unbelievably enticing stripped-back, acoustic outro that somehow encapsulates the energy of the entire record in one sweet and solemn cheerio farewell? It's all of these things, of course. But seriously, what an ending, and one which leads to a final verdict on Remo Drive. Yes, despite their initial out-dated execution of Indie Rock 'n' Roll, these guys are in fact the first serious revivalists of a time and space which needs to be celebrated a little more often in life.