Review Summary: Revitalize me.
As a reviewer, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to review albums within the realm of emo or indie punk or whatever you want to call the genre. In fact, every time I review a band that I feel like deserves some attention within the muddied genre, it’s hard as hell to actually say what sets them apart from everyone else. Because of this, I constantly feel like I am repeating myself, falling into an endless cycle of saying the album “jams” or how it “makes you feel”. Unfortunately, with Remo Drive’s Greatest Hits
many of the same things can be applied to the three piece’s first full length effort. However, there is something there that truly makes these guys special, and I guess I’ll attempt to articulate why.
Let’s think back to the start of the genre itself. By “start” I really mean the 2nd wave of emo, also known as the 90s. Bands like Mineral, The Promise Ring, and American Football paved the way for the genre as it is today with their emotive lyrics, twinkly guitar riffs, and punk aesthetics. However, if you look back to these bands’ songs and style you will see that they really didn’t do anything particularly special. Sure they had some masterful lyrics and vocal deliveries, but if you take Nothing Feels Good
for example, you will see that it’s really simple pop music played in an “alternative” style. Yet, they didn’t have to as living within simplicity often produced perfection. Fast forward to today. After the genre was revitalized by bands like Snowing and Algernon Cadwallader, the early 2010s saw a huge influx of emo bands. Some may argue that the genre has died and no longer exists today, but there still seem to be a large number of bands that identify themselves as “emo”. Hell, even my own band is guilty of contributing to this oversaturation of sorts. Because of this, bands are often trying to do too much through experimenting by combining multitudes of genres together or even within their songwriting. Although this has produced some of the best albums, I feel like I’m not alone when I say that the whole shtick getting pretty tiring.
Remo Drive is tired too. Greatest Hits
sees the band taking from both old and new in fantastic fashion. Unlike many other bands that blatantly rip off the heralded classics, these three college kids have found their own sound that sits comfortably between Weezer’s Pinkerton
and straight up punk music. What they do take from the 90s is the idea of not trying to do too much. Songs like ‘Strawberita’ are really extremely simple songs that feature a driving punk riff, catchy melodic vocals, and an energetic percussion section. And that’s really the whole album for you in the simplest of terms. In addition to this, the band also takes from some of the more successful recent emo bands. Elements of JANK can be found within the lead singer’s vocal melodies, Joyce Manor within the driving bass, and Mimisiku within the crunchy guitar tones. Yes, this album does “jam hard” and it does “feel genuine”, and yes, the lyrics are pretty stereotypical but still manage to hit hard. More importantly, the band has attempted to revitalize the things that truly make this genre so special. So I guess it’s up to you to decide if they are successful or not.