Issue 1: Get ready to turn up the volume on Remote
Wallows’ latest release is short and sweet.
October 26, 2020
From Lead Singer Dylan Minnette’s starring role in 13 Reasons Why to their smash hit collaboration “Are You Bored Yet?” with Clairo, it’s hard to not have heard of Wallows at least once. Their first album, Nothing Happens, was a perfect smorgasbord of songs for every mood, so I was excited to hear of the release of their latest EP, Oct. 23’s Remote.
I don’t consider myself a die-hard Wallows fan, but I’ve always enjoyed their music for the alternative-rock/pop sound that just makes you want to sing along. Remote is no different, taking on a unique sound that retains the catchiness of the rest of Wallows’ discography.
When I think of the word remote, I immediately think of a television. Hearing the electronic and funky beats of this EP, I got just what I expected. Remote strays slightly away from the conventional beats Wallows used in the past, but isn’t significantly different to the point where you can’t stand to listen. The emphasis on guitars throughout the EP reminds me of their other works, which is something I’m glad they kept in Remote.
I was going in ready to compare this EP to their debut album, but quickly realized that I couldn’t. They both stand out in their own way, and I enjoyed both for reasons that can’t be comparable. Nothing Happens makes me feel like I’m in a coming of age movie, and always makes its way onto my playlists. Remote is fresh and full of pep despite its shorter runtime.
My favorite song on the EP was a tie between “Coastlines” and “Talk Like That.” Both were catchy and had instrumentals that stood out from the other songs on the EP. The former sounds straight out of a Nintendo game, and the latter has you bobbing your head without even realizing. “Coastlines” was catchy, and had a growing beat that made me excited to hear what would come next. I can only describe the beat of “Talk Like That” as cute; it made me smile!
A similarity between these two songs was the short pause towards the second half of the song. Wallows isn’t new to doing this, but that detail worked so well with these two songs. I couldn’t help but picture an audience at a concert freezing, the growing anticipation in the venue breaking as everyone screams the next verse.
Notably, I listened to this EP in order, which was a great decision. Although I said I wouldn’t compare Remote to Nothing Happens, this is one of the things I loved most about Remote. The final track on Nothing Happens, “Do Not Wait,” is nothing less than a perfect song to end an album on. It’s an experience to listen to that brings out emotion no matter how you’re feeling.
Similarly, “Wish Me Luck,” the sixth and last song on Remote was slower, and felt more personal than the previous songs. By the time you’re done listening to it, you feel satisfied, having gone through fast and upbeat songs that make your heart race to chiller ones that let the music leave your body, in a way.
Moreover, “Virtual Aerobics” was a perfect song to start the EP with. It’s bold and grabs your attention with its snappy sound. Wallows arranges the songs to tell a story, grabbing you in the beginning and making you feel sad to go at the end. The smooth transition to the second track, “Dig What You Dug,” only supports that point.
My only critique of Remote was that the songs felt too short. As soon as I got into them, they ended. Granted, this is an EP, but I was still disappointed to see that the longest song was three minutes and 46 seconds long. Wallows made use of the short times, and still delivered appeasing music, but I would’ve liked to see even one song that was a bit longer.
At the same time, I don’t know how I would’ve felt about ten or so songs like those on Remote. What makes these songs work so well is that they’re on an EP. They have similar characteristics, but since there are only a few tracks, it’s easier to notice things that make them different. If Remote was longer, I definitely think that the songs would’ve easily blended together, and would’ve been lost to “quantity over quality.”
If I didn’t make it clear enough, Wallows satisfied expectations once again. Remote was easy to listen to and well put-together. I hope to see these tracks live someday, because if they’re anything like the pleasing studio recordings, it should be a treat.
Anna Woodward is a senior and the Editor-in-Chief of RHSToday and Knight Writers. This is her second year as an editor and third year on staff. Outside...