Monday, June 25, 2018
Rhett Repko - Thnx For The Ride (2017)
Written by Frank McClure, posted by blog admin
The title song begins Rhett Repko’s Thnx For The Ride on a rip-roaring note. Repko and the three piece band accompanying him tear through this focused song, stopping on a dime, negotiating transitions into tricky time signatures with seamless skill, and Repko sounds energized throughout to be working with skilled musicians. Even on a recording, there’s a palpable chemistry these four musicians share and one can only assume they are even more explosive in a live setting. “Please Don’t Laugh” carries on with some of the skillful twists and turns we hear in the title song and the guitar sound is a bit more “normalized” compared to lead guitarist Stefan Heuer’s effects laden approach on the opener. Repko’s subject matter for the entirety of the EP is, invariably, romantic relationships, but he finds a way to tackle such time tested subjects in a way that feels uniquely individual. It’s no small thing to pull off this late in popular music’s history.
There’s a sarcastic, bitter edge to the track “It Ain’t Coming From You”, but never bitter enough to make this an unpleasant listening experience. It is invigorating, however, to hear Repko sink his teeth into these lyrics and deliver them with a well deserved emotive spike stabbing straight for listener’s hearts. Backing and harmony vocals for the EP are Stefan Heuer’s responsibility and his voice blends well with Repko’s. The emphasis Thnx For The Ride places on vocal presentation is one of the release’s strongest qualities. “Maybe I’m Weak” brings a stronger personal touch than ever before to Thnx For The Ride’s individual take on modern pop rock and Repko’s dramatic vocal is the finishing touch. His singing transforms “Maybe I’m Weak” from a fine track to among the EP’s best.
There’s some sly shifts in tempo thrown in for good measure on the memorable “And I Told Her So”, but drummer Tom Bryant is, arguably, more responsible for the success of this song than any others before or after. The whipcrack pop from his percussion drives “And I Told Her So” along with a mix of modern and classic rock energy. Stefan Heuer deserves a nod, however, for his commanding lead guitar work near the song’s end. The rhythm section churns out another impressive performance with the EP’s second to last number “Learn Your Name” and the groove established from the first is familiar, but rolls over listeners in a distinctive way. Young bands must bring something of themselves to traditional rock songwriting like this if they want to stand out and a lot of that depends on the musician’s penchant for melody. The song’s central riff illustrates that quite nicely.
Rhett Repko’s Thnx For The Ride is an EP but, make no mistake, it’s a notable addition to his growing catalog. These are song crackling in studio form, so we can only assume they will really catch fire on a stage. Repko, undoubtedly, wrote these songs with his live show very much in mind. They are more than entertaining concert fare, however; Repko has, likewise, advanced by leaps and bounds as a singer/songwriter of note and Thnx For The Ride’s songs clearly show his progress.
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