REVIEW: "remote," the brand new EP by wallows
“Virtual Aerobics” kicks off the EP with a simple piano riff that doesn’t take long to get stuck into the indie pop sound we’ve come to love from Wallows. It details the beginning part of a relationship, when you’re trying to do all you can to ensure they’ll like you back: ‘Wanna dress in what makes you like me,’ and ‘I love how you move like that / I love how you kiss like / When we aren’t together, fuck all of the weather.’
“Dig What You Dug” starts like the previous song, but this time with a simple guitar riff that doesn’t give you long to get used to the bare bones beginning before bursting into the biggest indie pop/rock anthem on the EP. Vocals effortlessly flit between Braeden Lemasters and Dylan Minnette, each taking their turn and coming together to tell the second phase in the new relationship set out in the first single. The music itself makes you excited, led by intense drums from Cole Preston and scuzzy guitars, emanating the feeling of a budding relationship: ‘I love the way you say my name / Say it again.’ It is about to be their biggest song yet.
“Nobody Gets Me (Like You)” is next and the first single released from Remote. It’s a sweet, atmospheric tune about really falling for someone you’ve just met: ‘We only just met tonight / But I think we’ll put up a good fight / We’re not that simple, though / Let’s see it through.’ It’s about knowing that person you’ve just met makes you feel like you’ve not before: ‘I’ve seen so many places / I couldn’t tell the difference / I need a girl like you / You’re the only difference.’
“Coastlines” is their version of a love ballad and brings some trouble into the ongoing story running throughout. Minnette’s vocals really have a moment to shine in this; you can really hear the pain he’s going through, not wanting to think of this relationship suddenly becoming long distance. The synth-effect on his voice add to this, really dragging you through it as he sings: ‘I don’t wanna think about it / When we’re on different coastlines,’ and ‘Things are different when you’re not around / Too embarrassed to admit I’ve cried.’
“Talk Like That” is the antithesis of Coastlines. It’s up tempo, stopping and starting in an irresistible way before going pedal to the medal, sounding like it’s about to fall apart at any second. It makes me long for the buzz of live music and feeling weightlessly excited.
“Wish Me Luck” ends the EP in such a way that lets you know you won’t be the same when the music stops. It’s ambient, almost as if you could physically wade through the song yourself. There’s emphasis placed on every word, with the chorus: ‘I’m always getting stuck / In my mind / I’ll be fine / If we turn out the lights,’ feeling utterly haunting.
Remote is, in my humble opinion, their best body of work to date. It’s made all the more impressive when you find out the entire EP was recorded during quarantine. Wallows say of the release: “Remote is a special project for us. We finished it all without seeing each other in person by sending each other voice memos and spending hours chatting on FaceTime. Though the lyrics don’t reflect on or reference our time staying at home, the music wouldn’t have turned out the way it did if not for quarantine. Big love to our producers and friends Sachi DiSerafino and John DeBold for working around the clock with us. We hope you enjoy it as much as we do.”
If you’re a long-time fan of the band, this will not disappoint, and if you’re listening to them for the first time, Remote is the best introduction possible. There are songs to exercise to, dance to, and have a little cry to. Every base is covered and covered well. These songs won’t be leaving my playlists any time soon.
With Election Day only 12 days away, Wallows are asking fans “Are You Registered Yet?” On October 30th, the band will be airing a performance of “OK” as part of Rolling Stone’s Fridays For Unity, a nationwide virtual music and conversation event series featuring some of the United States’ greatest entertainers and influential politicians. The event encourages voter engagement and will be broadcast on the Rolling Stone YouTube page at 8pm EST. The band also recently partnered with HeadCount, a non-partisan organization that promotes participation in democracy through music, culture, and digital media, for National Voter Registration Day. For one day only, the band gave away a download of “Bad Remake” – the last never-before-heard track from the Nothing Happens album sessions – if you checked your voter status, registered or pledged to vote. However, you can still get ready to vote HERE.