On top of recently changing their name from Sports to the half-question-half-declaration moniker Remember Sports, the aforementioned band also relocated from Ohio to Philadelphia just in time for the release of their most Philly-soaked indie-punk record yet—a full-length entitled Slow Buzz that is out this week via Father/Daughter Records. The band has found a way to sustain all the youthful energy and emotion of their previous releases through member changes, college graduation, heartbreak, and a change of scenery, which results in the most honed, grown-up version of Remember Sports’ sound.
Slow Buzz opens with the track “Otherwise” that begins understated, utilizing only synth and vocalist Carmen Perry’s incredible vocals before exploding with a frantic drum fill that will have you bouncing along. Remember Sports have always been great at writing short, fast songs that make you want to dance and sing and that continues on Slow Buzz. The record’s first single “Up From Below” is a perfect example of why Remember Sports are poster children for this sound and style, complete with an upbeat, catchy chorus, jam-packed verses, and lyrics that are made for yelling in sweaty basements (‘It’ll all be fine / We just all wanna die’). The band played to their strengths on this record, but was also able to break out of their comfort zone, like staying relatively mellow and stretching out the track length on songs “Pull Through” and album closer “Unwell” and showcasing a twangier side of Perry’s voice.
On that topic, it’s impossible to speak about the successes of Remember Sports without spending ample time speaking about Perry’s voice. The way she can utilize her range is incredible—able to be quiet or bombastic, strong or wavery, tinged with sadness or a full-on assault of power. Every line is gorgeous and filled with a certain depth that is rare, especially in this genre of music. I’ve said in the past that Perry has the best voice in the indie/DIY/emo world, and I still believe that to be true. Every track on Slow Buzz showcases a different side of her vocal ability and subsequent listens reveal more and more nuance.
Besides some truly stunning vocals, Remember Sports have also refined their sound by taking all the best parts of their previous releases and letting the songs breathe a bit more. The tracks that make up Slow Buzz run the gamut of speed and weight, but are cohesive because of attention to detail and a more adult, Philly-afied sensibility. It feels strange to define a band’s sound by their locale, but no place in America has a more understood musical point of view than Philadelphia, and Remember Sports fit right in. Being contemporaries with bands like Cayetana, Modern Baseball, Katie Ellen, and Hop Along really suits Remember Sports, allowing them to be authentically themselves in a way that is able to reach more ears. It always seemed to me that Remember Sports were on the fringes of something big and special, like any day they would break out of basements and become the next Waxahatchee, and if any record deserves to propel a band into success, it’s Slow Buzz.
Remember Sports have always been themselves—youthful and energetic, relatable and fun, incredibly talented and everything good about DIY music. On Slow Buzz, they continue to be all of those things, but in a way that makes them feel like a quote unquote real band. Their jangly, upbeat sensibility and knack for catchy as hell songs serves them well on this record, and hopefully will be the catalyst for a lot more much-deserved attention.
Slow Buzz is streaming early over on Noisey’s website.