Remo Drive - Natural, Everyday Degradation (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Remo Drive

Natural, Everyday Degradation (2019)

EPITAPH records

Remo Drive are a pretty interesting and divisive band, from what I've gathered listening to fans talk about them. Haters and so-called purists have criticised their style of pop-punk as being derivative but after listening to Greatest Hits and Pop Music I honestly saw no difference to the other bands aping Weezer and the like. Plus I'm a sucker for well-put together tracks like "Yer Killin' Me" and basically anything that sounds like it could be the next Joyce Manor or PUP. That said, Natural, Everyday Degradation is a far cry from fizzy, bouncy short-bursts of pop-punk and finds Remo Drive doing a pretty good job of alternative punk that comes off as their most musically dynamic ensemble to date.

Now, first let me get this out the way -- this record would have been way more punchier if it were shorter. Tracks like "Dog" best highlight how much they went for an '80s era sound, with the shimmery, slow shoegaze essence of "The Grind" and "Around the Sun" emphasising they wanted to do something different. And make no mistake, these tracks are done well but when you throw in three others or so with the same aesthetic, when they all bleed into each other, it's drab and boring.

However, there are wildcards which really make the record enjoyable as it strays away from the pop-punk noise of old. "Halos" stands out as a '90s alt-grunge jam, making you wish they'd gone harder. The game could be said for "Mirror" as you feel Remo Drive really has potential to make a record paying homage to just about every genre of rock and roll. They call this a dance-punk album and sure when you take in the emo vibe of "Two Bux" I do get where they're coming from, but overall, the album does hold a bit more than the average one you'd find on Rise or Fueled by Ramen. What I do like though is you can pick up the FOB influences, as well as bands like Milk Teeth and new-school Basement at various points, which really speak to Remo Drive adding a bit more to what might first come off like them trying to be a punk take on Morrissey or The Cure.

By the time "The Truth" closes off proceedings, I can't help but think they need to explore their Euro-flair a bit more. It reeks of Bloc Party and We Were Promised Jetpacks in a really good way that shows just like Epitaph bands such as Touche Amore and PBTT, going different really can work out. Sounds evolve, bands and their writing do, and Remo Drive has certainly surprised me with this direction. I think it's close to We Are Scientists, and honestly, it's a really great move and one I think bodes well for the future where so many pop-punk/indie bands do the same thing and flog the horse to death.