Even though they were initially lumped in with the 2010s "emo revival," Minnesota's Remo Drive take it a step beyond that designation on their first major-label full-length, Greatest Hits. Merging a distinct emo yearning with a D.I.Y. punk spirit and unpolished garage rock rawness, they deliver a solid debut fit for fans of Moose Blood, Tiny Moving Parts, and PUP, reaching as far back as Minor Threat and Weezer. Frontman Erik Paulson's vocals are imperfect but impassioned, while Sam Mathys pounds life into his drums and Stephen Paulson provides the occasional bounce on bass. Partially indebted to the sounds of the '90s -- check Nirvana and early Weezer -- Greatest Hits presents grunge crunch on the bitter, defeatist "Hunting for Sport" while dipping into rhythmic groove on "Strawberita," likely the result of their love of the Police and Vampire Weekend. Additional highlights include the energetic "Trying 2 Fool U" -- which kicks off mean and harsh before elevating itself with a surprise Arcade Fire joy-explosion toward the end -- and the endearing "Eat Shit," which turns skateboard fails into contemplations of existential woe. Moments like these set Greatest Hits apart from the pack with hints of depth and possibilities of more to come on future releases. Big single "Yer Killin' Me" is a standout, wonderfully defiant with lines like "You make me want to start smoking cigarettes so I die slowly/Anything that's bad for me/yer killin' me." Yet it's also refreshingly unexpected, ending with a thoughtful and patient outro to calm the nerves. Packed with attitude and a healthy amount of riffs, Greatest Hits is music to blast with other outcast pals with chips on their shoulders, wiling the night away in the suburban wasteland.
AllMusic Review by Neil Z. Yeung