“Mixing pop, indie, and folk-rock, Remo Drive are starting to sound along the lines of Belle & Sebastian meets Of Mice and Men.” – The Current
Last month, Midwest indie-band Remo Drive shared plans to release their fourth studio album ‘Mercy’; a record traversing themes of reinvention, trusting yourself, and wearing your heart on your sleeve even when it’s painful or vulnerable. A collection of the band’s most lyric-focused work yet, their robust songwriting is exemplified in the sarcastic wit of their Americana-inspired new single “All You’ll Ever Catch”.
“”All You’ll Ever Catch” is a song about the circular thinking of anxiety,” vocalist and guitarist Erik Paulson explains. “I wrote it as an invitation to myself to embrace what is, and to allow my subconscious and intuition guide me. Ironically, the song was labored over in a very self-conscious way. However, I do feel its message sinking in the longer I get to sit with my own advice.”
The origins of Mercy are based on moving apart, with Erik relocating to the sleepy upstate city of Albany, New York as Stephen Paulson (bass) stayed back in the duo’s native Minnesota. In this new environment, Erik wrote constantly, playing alone in his room and allowing himself to use his music to think existentially about life. He contemplated the complexities of being in a relationship, of making art and having it be received by a wide audience, and the complexities of finding your footing in a new place (inspiring recent single “New In Town”).
In addition to the physical distance added between them, the new album introduces a major sonic departure from records of Remo past. Less indebted to the emo and pop punk that foregrounded the duo’s career, instead Mercy is invested in thorny, baroque indie pop by way of Father John Misty and Fleet Foxes. The band thrived under the guidance of legendary Seattle-based producer, Phil Ek (The Shins, Band Of Horses) who helped bring their new ideas to life in the span of ten days. “It was refreshing to work with Phil,” says Erik, “It made music feel like how it did when we were younger. He was like fuck it, let’s go, let’s have fun.”
Returning to their respective home studio setups to finish up the album, remote recording sessions were also something new to the brothers who had gotten used to the comfort and convenience of making music in one room. The band cheekily refers to the experience as toggling between their most legit recording environment and their most scrappy, “It’s like going from Michelin Star to the Dollar Store,” jokes Erik. The record also features touring members Dane Folie who plays keys on “Hold You,” and Sam Becht who plays drums throughout. Tim Houston is also on the record, playing pedal steel.
Mercy is a record about getting in touch with your mental health, deprogramming what you thought you knew about yourself and using music to unlock inner honesty. It lends to some of the band’s strongest lyrical work yet – proof that they have found their stride making the art they really want to make.
Remo Drive are hitting the road for a US Spring headlining tour with support from Los Angeles rock band Wilt. It kicks off on March 8th and will traverse major cities such as Los Angeles, Nashville, NYC, Chicago and more before ending with a hometown show in Minneapolis on April 14th.