Before I get on to review this new EP, I have a confession to make; Yes I stan Dylan Minnette, and for that I am proud. He is one talented, thoughtful and beautiful man. His Twitter account in particular has a very strong vibe, especially when attacking immoral US politicians during this election season…
MIKE PENCE WATCH OUT!!!! YOU’VE GOT A WILDFLYER ON YOUR HEAD!!!😧😧😧— Dylan Minnette (@dylanminnette) October 8, 2020
no but in all seriousness pence is evil. like actually.— Dylan Minnette (@dylanminnette) October 8, 2020
… Anyway! I was first introduced to this band like a lot of people were, through Minnette’s (lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist) lead in Netflix’s cult controversial series, 13 Reasons Why. It was then that I fell down a rabbit hole watching interviews and critiques of the show on YouTube when I should have been revising for my A-Levels, and accidentally came across Wallows’ ‘Pictures of Girls’ music video. Whilst wondering why something that seemed so disconnected to the Netflix show was being recommended, my mind took a sharp 180 when the blasting guitar riffs propelled my brain from the computer screen. I was hooked instantly.
A couple of years later, this LA based indie sensation has released their new EP, Remote. This release is following a successful 2019 for the band, which saw the release of their debut LP Nothing Happens. Tracks such as ‘Are You Bored Yet’ and ‘Scrawny’ uniquely looked at the social awkwardness and the turbulence of a changing world for those who have grown into maturity in the mid to late 2010’s. Their synthy bedroom pop angst lent to their lyricism to which Minnette, Lemasters (lead guitarist and vocals) and Preston (Drums) employed to great effect. So, how does their new EP Remote compare to the indie rock romp which was their debut LP?
From the first glimpse of the cover art, it is clear that the band are looking back. The appearance of the EP’s title as a TNT detonator seems to represent the band’s frustration of having to be Remote and distant from the world outside. This is most likely because they are nostalgic for the recent past when the whole world was at their feet and no crisis stopping them in their tracks. ‘The fourth track ‘Coastlines’ in particular discusses the problems of a long-distance relationship, but can also allude to the lack of exposure to the world by being stuck in quarantine; unable to gig in person and further expose themselves to the world as the next big indie hit.
The biggest difference with Remote is the obvious upscale in music production, which has given their music a new energy. They decided to employ this by making their sound have this old-school retro vibe which jumps out immediately to the listener. The first couple of bars on their opener, ‘Virtual Aerobics’ sounds like a video game from the 90’s which complements the whole aesthetic of this project. And it only gets better from there.
The track ‘Dig What You Dug’ has their most explosive chorus to date with bellowing vocals and some traumatising backing synth. Their lead single, ‘Nobody Gets Me (like you)’, also follows on the same stylistic path. Rhys Buchanan of NME reported that the track “retains momentum with a modulated vocal and hooky grunge guitars”. In addition, he praised the band for the song’s “substance and scope of influence under the surface of their glimmering production”. My only problem with this appraisal by Buchanan is that he does not say this about every track on Remote, which I think is a grave oversight. The final two tracks on the album for example, ‘Talk Like That’ and ‘Wish Me Luck’ display the band’s ability to go fast and slow, respectively, with a controlled but intense indie style.
But what makes Remote so immensely good is that despite trying out something more left field with this project, they’ve not changed entirely to suit their egos after a successful couple of years (I’m looking at you, Alex Turner with Tranquility Base Hotel and Casino). They still remain three young guys with a passion for making unique and intriguing music for their countless adoring fans. But what they have shown with Remote is that they possess a raw drive to try and leave their mark in music. And despite them being Remote and isolated from the world with whom they want to reach out to, this EP shows that they are determined in not letting a crisis impact upon their incredible potential in music.
You can listen to Remote now down below!