Written by Laura Dodero, posted by blog admin
I fell in love with the raw energy driving Rhett Repko’s Thnx For The Ride from the first hearing. It’s an EP release that feels every bit as complete as any full length album and leaps out at you from the first song onward. He gets things off to a forceful start by beginning with the title song and “Thnx for the Ride” has a handful of surprises sure to keep listeners engaged. The effects heavy guitar never wears on me and gives the song an unique sound quite unlike anything else on the EP. The same template for surprise you hear on the opener continues with the second cut “Please Don’t Laugh” and drummer Tom Bryant pushes the song forward without ever over-playing.
The third song “It Ain’t Coming From You” relies less on strong electric guitar work and more on rapid fire acoustic guitar flourishes. I love how it has every bit of the same hard-charging mood as the earlier songs without leaning too heavily on rock clichés. The slower section in the song’s second half is spot on.“Maybe I’m Weak” uses a lot of acoustic guitar as well, but electric makes a big return here and fits with the song’s occasionally stuttering tempo. Some might be a little wearied by Repko’s reliance on that device, the stop/start turns in some of the EP’s songs, but I hear it more as an element of his style and appropriate for the dramatic qualities of these tunes.
Bryant and bassist Dan Gallagher wowed me with their interplay on the track “And I Told Her So” while the song itself is reminiscent of the title number with its light riffing on a clipped, reggae-ish sound. Repko’s potent singing for this song is among the EP’s best. Gallagher stands out again with his introduction for “Learn Your Name” and this striding rocker blasts by you with a tangible swagger. Another strong point of this EP is how well Repko meshes a first class vocal presentation with his obvious love for rock, even hard rock. Stefan Heuer lays down some of his best lead guitar on the collection with an urgent, aggressive performance.
The skeletal guitar attack of Thnx For The Ride’s last track “Make Me Right” has a clenched fist quality, the band moving in lockstep, and collectively focused on one target. It’s a great idea for Repko to end the EP with such an uptempo number and his vocal is more than up to the task of approximating the musical energy. Rhett Repko’s Thnx For The Ride may be relatively brief, but it’s revealing. Repko comes across as a dyed in the wool rocker who, nonetheless, retains a strong singer/songwriter sensibility and sharp pop instincts. The seven songs included with this release never waste listeners’ time, sound immaculately produced, and the live feeling surrounding each performance will curry a lot of favor with longtime rock fans and casual admirers alike.