Release Date: 26th June 2020
Record Label: Epitaph
For Fans Of: Black Keys, QotSA
Have you ever wondered what an alt-rock band, influenced by binge-watching of old Westerns, would come up with if they wrote and recorded an entire album in their parents’ basement? Well, wonder no more, because Remo Drive has done exactly that. With the release of their third studio album, A Portrait of an Ugly Man, the Minnesota-based duo have gone back to their roots with an explosion of energetic, tremolo-heavy classic rock.
Quirky, self-referential lyrics and a voice you will instantly fall in love with are layered over a jaw-dropping musical soundscape reminiscent of the gunslinging Wild West. Remo Drive’s effortlessly infectious energy drives the record forward at an unrelenting pace, leaving just enough time to appreciate each song before being ripped into another breath-taking display of musicianship.
The perfectly crafted vocal melodies on display throughout the entirety of A Portrait of an Ugly Man are immediately brought to the fore with ‘A Guide to Live By’ and ‘Star Worship’. Remo Drive always seem to know exactly when to give way to the bluesy guitar riffs that keep the album sounding fresh. Exploring different aspects of their influences with the acoustic and slide guitars in ‘If I’ve Ever Looked Too Deep in Thought’ or the classic alt-rock sounds used in ‘The Ugly Man Sings,’ closing track ‘Easy as That’ shows off every side of the signature Remo Drive sound in all its glory.
The album lulls somewhat in the second half as the tempo drops slightly to make way for the sing-along ballad of ‘The Romance Lives’ although does pick up again with the final couple of songs. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with having a few slower songs to add variety to an album, however Remo Drive’s typical upbeat mastery is so good that it would be easy to listen to an entire album of that punchy, riff-infused blues-rock.
A final huge plus for the album is that every song is relatively short, meaning the album flows really well for the most-part and the constant introduction of fresh sounds will keep you intrigued. A Portrait of an Ugly Man is an altogether extremely well-written album that will leave you desperate to know what Remo Drive will come up with next.
Recommended Tracks: ‘Star Worship’, ‘If I’ve Ever Looked Too Deep in Thought’