Contrary to what you may think, the title, “Remote,” is not a nod to the fact that the three band members of Wallows never came in contact with each other during the entirety of recording their new EP. According to an interview in DIY Mag, band member Dylan Minnette claims the concept was to create six completely different tracks as if they each belonged on a different station — the remote being the remote control you use to switch between stations. Although the EP was recorded during quarantine, the band wanted to stay away from any references to this era and keep the music upbeat in order to avoid the release becoming a timepiece.
Released on Oct. 23, “Remote” achieves what band members Minnette, Braeden Lemasters and Cole Preston sought to create — a collection of six songs that are almost random and discombobulated but somehow belong together. The new songs stray far away from the sound the band established with its debut record, “Nothing Happens.” While the tracks on “Remote” are certainly interesting, I’m curious to find out if this is the sound the band will continue to grow upon or if album two will bring yet another surprising plot twist to the group’s discography.
On first listen, I honestly wasn’t a huge fan of a single song on the EP. However, the new tracks have grown on me the more I have listened to them.
“Nobody Gets Me (Like You)” was released as the first single off the EP and accompanied by a sequel to the quirky music video that came out with “OK” back in March. The song starts off with an electronic noise reminiscent of cheesy 1980s video games — a sound that’s present on most of the EP. I have to say, I’m not a fan of that sound; however, “Nobody Gets Me (Like You)” redeems itself with a catchy chorus.
“Virtual Aerobics” was released as the second single. Sound wise, I think it’s the closest to what I expected Wallows to grow into. It has a little rap section in the middle of the song — an element the band introduced into its music with the single “OK.” While “Nobody Gets Me (Like You)” is somewhat connected to “OK” through its music video, “Virtual Aerobics” actually has more sound elements in common with the single from March. However, lyrically, I just don’t get it, so it’s not a favorite from this new release.
“Dig What You Dug” and “Talk Like That” are similar in my opinion. Both songs include the video game-esque sound effects and very staccato or choppy melodies. Additionally, both songs include instrumentation that is best described as sonic strobe lights. These tunes are a little chaotic, but I think that’s what the band was going for throughout the entire EP. Of the two, I prefer “Dig What You Dug.”
“Coastlines” returns to the chill indie vibes the band established with “Are You Bored Yet?,” the collaboration with Clario off the first album. That being said, this song is probably my favorite track from this release as it’s a bit calmer and sounds more like music and less like sound effects.
The EP closes with “Wish Me Luck,” another more indie sounding tune. However, unlike “Coastlines,” “Wish Me Luck” isn’t comparable to anything the band has released before — it’s almost as if this track incorporates all of the various vibes the group has explored throughout its entire discography. I would love it if Wallows decided to further explore this sound because I think it’s probably the most unique and interesting track of the EP.
Overall, “Remote” introduces fans with a lot to unpack. It’s unclear where the band is headed on its musical journey, but maybe that was the point. I give “Remote” 3.5/5 stars.