A PORTRAIT OF AN UGLY MAN
OUT JUNE 26 ON EPITAPH RECORDS
Remo Drive have unleashed their new video and second single, “Ode to Joy 2”. Written over the span of a few years, vocalist Erik Paulson explains, “the lyrics were inspired by the excess I perceived around me as I transitioned from being a college student into touring full time. Most people who’ve done either can confirm that many social interactions are built around having a drink or smoking weed. Once the honeymoon period of exploration was over for me, I became frustrated with the omnipresence of drugs and alcohol and wanted to write about it… Oh what fun it is laughing at nothing, by this age we all have it down.. When I wrote the final version of the lyrics, I tried to connect with how I think when I’m drunk. I always feel as though I’m loving and hating every second of it. This song captures that same ambivalence.”
With its acrobatic guitar work, deeply self-referential lyrics and off-the-walls energy, Remo Drive’s upcoming album A Portrait of an Ugly Man calls back to the dextrous, eccentric sound that helped the band – brothers Erik (vocals, guitar) and Stephen (bass) Paulson – explode onto the scene back in 2017.
Self-produced and mixed, A Portrait of an Ugly Man feels all at once familiar and fresh. Taking shape in their parent’s basement in Minnesota, the space breathed a looseness into the songs, while the freedom of the sessions left the band able to explore the next evolution of their sound.
A slice of tremolo-heavy classic rock filtered through the lens of the gunslinging American West, A Portrait of an Ugly Man finds them truly in their element – both physically and sonically. Whereas the Paulsons filtered their buoyant songwriting through the concise lens of storytellers like Bruce Springsteen and The Killers on Natural, Everyday Degradation, A Portrait of an Ugly Man is more spontaneous, bolstered by the same charm and levity that made their debut, Greatest Hits, such an underground favorite.
The loathsomeness Paulson explores on the album certainly reflect less glamorous aspects of both his psyche and that of others, but when they’re cut with his quick wit and self-deprecation, they seem less like an actual indictment and more of an embrace of all of life’s imperfection and absurdity. In turning the mirror back at themselves in this way, Remo Drive have learned a lot about who they really are: A Portrait of an Ugly Man is an album that doesn’t seek to minimize important subjects like mental health or self-worth, but rather welcome them in and accept them as part of what it means to be human.