Sunny in ‘Remote’

A quarantine-project-turned-extended-play leaves fans reeling amidst sunny instrumentals.

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Photo courtesy Atlantic Records

Nicole Kallio, Web Editor

Imagine this: it’s the nineties. You’re at a beach with the sun in your hair, the shimmer of sunscreen making your skin glisten. The bright reds, blues, and yellows surrounding you only make sense as you look upon the swirling sea, almost continuous among the bright blue sky. Doesn’t that sound nice?

Well, if you ask me, Wallows’ new extended play ‘Remote’ evokes those exact same feelings (in sound, anyway.) 

Beginning with “Virtual Aerobics,” the band kicks off the 16-minute disc with upbeat synth and guitar, mimicking the iconic backtracks of many late-twentieth century music that carries through the EP. This song immediately sounded to me like it belonged in a playlist dedicated to spring (if you’re into making playlists based on seasons, which I totally am). It may take a couple listens, but I have to say, this song will grow on you.

Following is “Dig What You Dug,” which seemed more like the music they had released before this EP. If you’re looking for a more typical-Wallows sound, this is probably the song for you. Dylan Minette’s vocals are showcased very nicely in this song by accompanying synth and guitar, which only adds to the nostalgic nature of this collection. It is also one of the catchiest songs included.

One of my personal favorites follows, “Nobody Gets Me (Like You).” This, along with “Virtual Aerobics,” were both released prior to the release of the whole EP, and this song is still as good as I thought it was when it first came out. This is one of the most upbeat songs in the collection, and feels like true bedroom pop (a truly underrated genre). It also belongs on the list with “Dig What You Dug” as the catchiest songs included. If you take literally anything away from this review, it should be this: “Nobody Gets Me (Like You)” deserves to be in your playlist. 

Fourth comes “Coastlines,” which is one of the softer songs included. This song almost felt like if the Neighborhood and the nineties collabed, this would be the result (and it’s pretty good, as odd as it may sound). The vocals and backing are both much slower and generally less excited than those in the songs previous, which I think breaks ‘Remote’ up nicely. Don’t be fooled, though; the burst of energy given in the chorus makes this song fit right in. 

Next up comes “Talk Like That,” which I didn’t really think was anything extraordinary. Not to say that I didn’t like this song, but I feel like the only thing it offered that the other songs didn’t was a more prominent bassline. It certainly fits the vibe of the whole EP, but it doesn’t top the list for me.

“Wish Me Luck,” however, has perhaps the most 80’s/90’s feel of the entire collection. The vocals almost take a backseat to the dreamy synth and air-like guitar, which reminds me of the school dance scene in Stranger Things season 2. This is my other favorite from ‘Remote,’ which isn’t surprising. It is also the longest, slowest song on the record. This song was a great choice to wrap up the collection, as it feels like a satisfying conclusion to an otherwise entirely sunny story. 

While the entire EP is loaded with bright, 80’s inspired melodies and sunny vocals, the lyrics don’t really convey the happiest meaning: this entire EP focuses on transforming yourself to be what someone else likes. This is especially true in some of the most profound lyrics, such as “Wanna dress is what makes you like me / I’ll probably overwear these Nikes / I’ll clean them off when they get a scuff / Tell me when you think they’ve had enough,” from “Virtual Aerobics, “I don’t want to think about it / When we’re on different coastlines,” from “Coastlines,” and “Cut my heart in half, give it back when you talk like that,” from “Talk Like That.” 

For a project made entirely in quarantine and put together in the studio, I think that this EP was incredibly well done. It gives off the classic Wallows vibe while still incorporating a fresh, new sound (if not entirely retro). I would definitely recommend this to anyone who enjoys indie or bedroom pop!

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