Review: Wallows explores new genres in Remote

Remote, the second studio EP by Wallows, was released on all major music streaming platforms on October 23.


Remote, the second studio EP by Wallows, was released on all major music streaming platforms on October 23.

Melissa May, Head Copy Editor

On Friday, October 23, alternative band Wallows released a new EP entitled Remote. The shortened album marked their first new album since their previous EP in 2018 and their first album in the spring of 2019. Immediately upon listening, it became obvious that the new style they took on in these songs was incredibly different from styles that they had explored in their previous music, and it signifies an important shift in the development of their discography.

Wallows, consisting of Dylan Minnette (guitar and vocals), Braeden Lemasters (vocals and bass), and Cole Preston (drums and guitar), has been releasing music since April of 2017. Their first singles introduced their distinct sound, serving as an early illustration of the type of alternative rock that they would become known for. They only further cemented this style through the release of their EP, Spring, and their album, Nothing Happens, though the development of their confidence in this genre became more apparent over time.

Remote was an obvious departure from their previously developed style. Their new songs venture into a more brash type of music, focusing less on typical indie-rock elements, and experimenting with more synth-focused styles. Their new style was not a spur of the moment change though. They explain that they “finished [the whole EP] without seeing each other in person,” instead “sending each other voice memos and… chatting on FaceTime” in quarantine to create their new music.

Regardless of the departure from their typical style, I thought that Remote was a very good and well-crafted project. From the start of the EP, they create an upbeat, experimental atmosphere featuring lots of drums, synth notes, and varied singing styles. Virtual Aerobics, the first song on the EP, was originally released as a single on October 1, along with an accompanying lyric video on YouTube. It takes on a fun, pop-like tune, allowing the band to immediately differentiate this new work from their previous releases. It served its purpose as an opening song well, providing the listener with an idea of the band’s new stylistic choices, and assisting in the creation of the upbeat, playful mood they would carry throughout the rest of the EP.

As Virtual Aerobics bleeds into the second song, Dig What You Dug, the same energy is matched and continued through their varied usage of synth, drums, and quick-changing beats. Certain aspects of the song seem even a bit too sudden in the way they transition from more relaxed sections to intensely upbeat, pop-heavy sounds. Overall, the song fits the EP’s sound well though, and makes for an incredibly catchy, fun song.

The last twenty seconds of Dig What You Dug slow down considerably, even featuring sounds reminiscent of glitching. This calm section, reciting “I dig what you dug / and I dug what you dig,” transitions into the next song, Nobody Gets Me (Like You). The third song easily continues the atmosphere they had been creating, but slows down a bit more and features some aspects of their earlier works. The contrast between a slower, mostly guitar-based introduction and bridge to a strong, catchy chorus serves the band well in creating, what I think to be, one of the strongest songs on the EP.

The transition from Nobody Gets Me (Like You) to Coastlines, the fourth song on the EP, is a bit jarring, shifting from upbeat, pop styles to a significantly slower tempo. It is still very focused on their energetic sound, but it is less consistent with their previous concentration on drums and synth notes. In general, the song serves pretty well as a break from what had been a constant stream of the experimental, strong style they had adopted in this EP.

The following song, Talk Like That, once again contrasts the previous sound of Coastlines. The song resumes the EP’s strong, upbeat style, featuring tropical undertones and quick drum beats. I think that the tropical sounds backing the song paired with the overall shortness of the song (just over two minutes) made it a pleasant, exciting addition to the EP.

Wallows, consisting of Dylan Minnette, Braeden Lemasters, and Cole Preston, has been creating music since the release of their first single in early 2017. (Wallows)

Wrapping up the EP, the sixth and final song, entitled Wish Me Luck, features similar slower tempos from Coastlines, yet focuses less on the pop sound that had been consistent until this point. It is the most reminiscent of the previous releases, yet differentiates itself from nearly every other song Wallows has produced. It is a beautiful, dream-like song with incredible lyricism and stunning vocals. While the contrast of the song’s sound to the rest of the EP immediately sets it apart, this is not at all done in a bad way. The song is a striking way to end the EP, and I felt that it did a wonderful job of encapsulating their new style while also pulling in aspects of their older songs, all combining to make a near-perfect way to end the EP.

Remote had been an exciting new release from Wallows that I, and many of their other fans, had been awaiting since the release of Nothing Happens in March of 2019, and it did not disappoint at all. While the new styles came as a shock as they heavily contrasted the sounds Wallows had become known for, they quickly grew on me and surprised me with how much I enjoyed their new ideas.

Despite some of their ideas not fitting perfectly into the EP, the new songs were each incredible and worked together very well, bleeding from song to song almost seamlessly. Regardless of the EP’s production being done over voice memos on the band member’s iPhones, the EP turned out to be one of the best productions to have come out of the COVID-19 quarantine. I would fully recommend Remote to anyone who was interested in listening. Wallow’s second studio EP is available on all major music streaming platforms now.