Written by Aaron Ellis, posted by blog admin
The new EP release from singer/songwriter and guitarist Rhett Repko, Thnx For The Ride, strengthens the talented young man’s position as one of the most promising artists on the indie scene today. He has the chops, musical discernment, and charisma capable of carrying him far beyond the cozy confines of independent music and experience mainstream success on a wide scale. The songwriting has a level of intelligence and emotional strength suggesting such success would never compromise his musical vision, but there’s little question, as well, that Repko is a first class musical entertainer. His band mates on Thnx For The Ride are a major reason why the EP succeeds in a way we ordinarily associate with full length albums. Repko has undoubtedly fine tuned these songs before recording them, but he’s successful at sustaining an off the cuff quality with the snap of an inspired first take.
Repko comes thundering out of your speakers for the opener. The EP’s title song is, largely, unfettered pop rock, but the band changes gears into a loping tempo at well chosen points in the performance. Lead guitarist Stefan Heuer’s playing has an effects laden texture, but it nevertheless reinforces the tight grasp of fundamentals behind his work. “Please Don’t Laugh” is a strong follow up with a similar slant, but the composition is much leaner than we hear with the title song and Repko restrains his predilection for changing things up and keeping listeners off balance. It’s much more cut to form than the first track, but still stands out as something uniquely his own.
“It Ain’t Coming From You” will rank as the EP’s pinnacle for many listeners. This is a passionate, inspired rocker with each band member responding to the track’s obvious potential. Repko sounds like he’s drawing from personal experience for these songs, but it never means they come off as obscure or too intimate for listeners. Instead, he shows a talent for making the personal universal in a way any adult listener will connect with. Heuer’s guitar playing places a bold exclamation point on the song as well. “Maybe I’m Weak” brings acoustic guitar into the mix and those sections of the song gallop and pulse with the same urgency we hear in the rockier sections. There’s some nice vocal harmonies on this song making it a little more commercial than earlier songs.
“And I Told Her So” immediately seizes the moment with Dan Gallagher’s hook-y bass line and drummer Tom Bryant brings extra muscle to the song’s bottom end. The lyrical mood harkens back, in some respects, to the earlier “It Ain’t Coming From You” without ever risking imitation and it’s a certain contender for the EP’s best track. “Make Me Right” has sparse guitar lines snapping from the first and Bryant’s drumming lays down a pace Repko clearly relishes. He slows things down a little for the song’s chorus, but remainder romps with rambunctious paunchiness.
Rhett Repko’s Thnx For The Ride is a seven song EP without a single filler cut and a laser focus on winning its audience over. The enthusiasm for the material matches up nicely with its quality and Repko’s recruited some top notch playing talent to help him realize his artistic ambitions. EP’s can often seem like holding actions between full length releases, but not Repko’s,. His second studio release of 2017 will win over many and sounds like far more than just a distraction.