August 19, 2019 The Rembrandts – Via Satellite (Album Review)
Emerging from the ashes of the ’80s-forming band Great Buildings of which both of them were former members, Danny Wilde and Phil Solem got together in 1989, in Los Angeles, California, United States, to form The Rembrandts. Releasing their self-titled debut record in 1990, despite the hits “Just the Way It Is, Baby” and “Someone,” it took The Rembrandts two albums more—1992’s Untitled and 1995’s LP—before they catapulted to international fame. This was caused primarily by the success of their song “I’ll Be There for You,” which was the theme of the ’90s-popular American television sitcom Friends. In fact, the song spent 11 weeks at No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 Airplay chart, climbed several charts around the world, and is still well-known to this day.
So what have The Rembrandts been up to since? Well, when Solem left in 1997 to concentrate on his other musical endeavors, Wilde soldiered on to release one more record under The Rembrandts moniker, Spin This. In 2000 the two reunited and unleashed the following year a new album together, Lost Together. Now, 18 years after their last offering, The Rembrandts are returning again with a collection of new materials entitled Via Satellite. Slated for release on Friday, August 23rd, 2019 on Blue Elan Records, The Rembrandts’ fifth is another dose of catchy, melodic, and feel-good Power Pop tracks that are sure to entice both their longtime fans and younger enthusiasts of hook-filled Pop Rock songs.
Complete with 10 new songs, Via Satellite opens with the sunny, jangly, and upbeat “How Far Would You Go?,” which may remind the initiated of similar Alternative Rock songs such as “New Constellation” by Toad the Wet Sprocket and “Learning the Hard Way” by Gin Blossoms. Following next is “Broken Toy,” which exudes sharp echoes of Bon Jovi’s “It’s My Life.” Then, a short, bright trek to the countryside ensues in the form of the harmonica-laden “Me and Fate,” only to revert again to the beloved ’90s hook-filled sound of The Rembrandts with “Count on You” and “Traveling from Home.”
The string-flavored, angular, and subtly fuzzy “Come to Californ-i-ya” is a seeming homage to Weezer (“Beverly Hills”). Near the end of the album, The Rembrandts then launch into a triumvirate of slow ballads: “Now,” “Off of the Edge,” and “You’d Think I’d Know.” Finally, Wilde and Solem wrap up Via Satellite with the acoustic-oriented, mid-tempo track “On My Own.”
The Rembrandts’ comeback is definitely one for the books. Presenting the duo’s music in a well-balanced blend of Pop and Rock, melody and fuzz, and good ol’ reminiscing and millennial swagger, it is a worthy addition to The Rembrandts’ discography. That is why Cryptic Rock gives Via Satellite 4 out of 5 stars.