Remo Drive | Texas Review | Ralph Arvesen
Remo Drive performing during the HJ Drinks Tour at Emo's Austin in Austin, Texas on June 26, 2024, with Erik Paulson and Stephen Paulson. (Photo: Ralph Arvesen)

Remo Drive, the long-running project of brothers Erik and Stephen Paulson, aims to evoke deep emotions. After six years of crafting pristine emo-influenced rock ‘n’ roll records, the band presents "Mercy," their fourth album and third release with Epitaph. This album is their most lyric-focused to date, exploring themes of reinvention, self-trust, and vulnerability.

"Mercy" was born from a significant change: Erik moved to Albany, New York during the pandemic, while Stephen remained in their native Minnesota. In his new environment, Erik wrote prolifically, using his music to explore existential themes. The album delves into the complexities of relationships, the artistic process, and adapting to new surroundings. Tracks like “New In Town” and “White Dress” reflect this introspection, offering some of the band’s most poignant lyrics.

Sonically, "Mercy" marks a departure from Remo Drive’s emo and pop-punk roots, embracing a more intricate indie pop sound influenced by Father John Misty and Fleet Foxes. The album was produced by Phil Ek, a renowned indie rock producer who has worked with the Shins and Band of Horses. The band collaborated with Ek over ten days, finding the experience revitalizing. Erik describes it as making music with a youthful sense of fun and spontaneity. Additional contributions came from touring members Dane Folie (keys on “Hold You”) and Sam Becht (drums), as well as Tim Houston on pedal steel.

The title track "Mercy" is intricately arranged with crisp vocals and guitar swells. Written soon after the release of "Portrait of an Ugly Man," it was inspired by a Nick Cave interview about mercy. "New In Town," one of the later additions to the album, is a tender ballad, blending the emotional intensity of Roy Orbison’s “Crying” with the intimate sound of Margaret Glaspy’s “Devotion.” The entire album is a study in intimacy and honesty, marking an exciting new creative chapter for Remo Drive as they embrace the art they truly want to make.
Fan reviews:

Fulfilling experience for fans of Remo Drive. I've been listening to Remo Drive for years and the recordings are a long shot from the experience and the vibes that the band gave at this concert. The fans are also really engaging. It's tough to find a show where people knew the lyrics to such a small band (shout out to the girl that was able to sing along to *every* song from Mercy) and just all around having fun and enjoying the music and not talking over it.

Remo Drive sounded great. It was an awesome show!

Really awesome show! Absolutely loved the experience!

Remo Drive was the best show I have ever been to. Every act was so passionate and talented. Remo’s on-stage chemistry was unmatched. The music, the delivery, everything about this show was incredible. I met Erik after the show, and he was so, so kind. I cant wait to see them again!

it was truly amazing, the opening bands were great, the energy was phenomenal.
Remo Drive shared the stage with Hobo Johnson and The Lovemakers and BabyJake at Emo's Austin. They continue across the United States with the last stop at the The Fillmore in San Francisco, California on August 16, 2024.

Remo Drive
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Photos by Ralph Arvesen
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