Friday, June 22, 2018

Rhett Repko - Thnx For The Ride (2017)

Written by Craig Bowles, posted by blog admin

Thnx For The Ride, a seven song EP, marks Rhett Repko’s second impressive release in 2017 and bears all the signs it might propel Repko to a greater renown than he has thus far experienced. It differs from his previous 2017 release, About Last Night, thanks to a much more resolute focus on being a pure, outright rock release incorporating the same singer/songwriter sensibility pervading his earlier releases. Repko makes no bones about being a classicist in some respects, but the most refreshing aspect of his songwriting and performances is how he fuses that approach with a very modern production style and a rambunctious sense of the possible. The title song embodies that. “Thnx for the Ride” mixes things up without the song ever coming off as disjointed or patched together – Repko and his band mates move from straight forward rock passages to other sections that are near reggae or ska in their approach. The lyrics are a bit unusual in the way they approach the time-tested subject matter of relationships and that individual touch on the song separates it from the pack.

“Please Don’t Laugh” keeps the bar set high for Thnx For The Ride with an equally punchy, if a bit more normalized, rock track that plays around with tempo shifts, but never to the same extent as we hear with the opener. The vocals are emphasized here a little more than before and lead guitarist Stefan Heuer excels with an impassioned guitar solo near the song’s end. Perhaps the most compelling section of the song comes near its mid-way point when the musical intensity fades a little and we’re treated to a slow, deliberate middle break that enhances the overall performance. “It Ain’t Coming From You” will be the EP’s peak for many listeners like it is for me and much of this has to do with the overall excellence of the song. There’s a strong acoustic strand underlying the song and wonderfully propulsive drumming from Tom Bryant, but the real highlight of the song comes from Repko’s vocal and another particularly tasty shift in tempo that comes near the track’s second half when the band slows things down and conjures a tasteful, thoughtful instrumental break.

“Maybe I’m Weak” elaborates on the previous song by expanding the dance between electric and acoustic guitars. Certain parts of this song may strike some listeners as choppy, but those passages are redeemed by yet one more intensely emotive Repko vocal and the rock firepower he and the band brings to bear in other portions of the tune. “And I Told Her So” has one of the EP’s best vocals with lead guitarist Stefan Heuer contributing a lot with his backing vocals. He rips loose with a biting solo, as well, during the song’s second half that underlines the potent rock power of this number, Thnx For The Ride concludes with the track “Make Me Right” and it’s a zesty closer for the EP that shows no fall off in energy from the first song. Repko has reached a new pinnacle with this release and Thnx For The Ride is chock full of great songs sure to be featured in his live set.

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