ALBUM REVIEW: Remo Drive – A Portrait Of An Ugly Man
BEST TRACKS: A Guide To Live By, Easy As That, If I’ve Ever Looked Too Deep In Thought
Remo Drive has been one of my favorite bands even since the release of their album “Greatest Hits” in 2017. You might remember it as the iconic pink album that contains some of Remo Drive’s best songs such as ‘Yer Killin’ Me’, ‘Crash Test Rating’, and ‘Art School’. With the release of “A Portrait Of An Ugly Man,” Remo Drive has given up their emo days in favor of a more romantic age.
In “A Portrait Of An Ugly Man,” the anxious, forlorn punk rock style of “Greatest Hits” is replaced with more maturity and artistry. The drums are less frantic. The guitar thrashes less, but twangs and flourishes more. Vocals are much more refined, and there is no signature emo punk rock shouting and whining. Erik Paulson has done a full 180 on his vocal style, becoming tender and wispy, and incorporating breathtaking vibrato into bellows which seem to resound and bounce off of the walls. This album incorporates a lot of dark, southwestern desert rock elements into its instrumental and melodies, most notably in track 4, ‘If I’ve Ever Looked Too Deep In Thought’ with its rattlesnake-esque tambourine, cinematic 80s strings, and wet, reverberating guitar strums.
Though I might miss the mischief and youthfulness that has disappeared from Remo Drive’s radar, I can’t really blame a band for growing up. It looks like emo was just a phase after all. Nevertheless, “A Portrait Of An Ugly Man” has all the energy and charm of a Remo Drive album, only with more impressive vocals. Not to mention, the lyrics are still as hard-hitting and clever as ever. A line from this album that really stuck with me is “If all that goes up must come down how long do I have before I hit the ground?” from the last track ‘Easy as That’. I recommend this album if you love bands like Beirut, Andrew Bird, and Dr. Dog, and Pet Symmetry.