Written by Pamela Bellmore, posted by blog admin
Rhett Repko’s upward ascent accelerates with the release of his new EP Thnx For The Ride, a seven song collection of intensely focused rock songs with a sharp commercial edge. Despite their mainstream appeal, the songwriting never comes across like its pandering for audience attention; instead, the songs featured on Thnx For The Ride come across as a witheringly sincere collection of tunes with Repko’s emotional vocals at the heart of each song. It’s a sign of the handcrafted nature of his release that Repko, essentially, supervised every aspect of its production and it results in an EP packing every bit of the wallop we’d get from a full length rock album. The sound is muscular and in your face from the outset, but never threatens to bulldoze its target audience and embraces a lot of nuance along the way.
The title song kicks things off with impressive rhythmic attack rolling with attitude from the first. It’s obvious Repko is working with a talented and sympathetic outfit; lead guitarist and backing vocalist Stefan Heuer, bassist Dan Gallagher, and drummer Tom Bryant navigate the tricky shifts of this song with nimble skill and they are keyed in to what the song needs rather than ever lapsing into self-indulgence. “Please Don’t Laugh” shows off the same skill level as the opener, but the guitar work is definitely less “textured” than we heard in the opener, though still employing a dollop of atmospheric effects. Repko maintains a high level of vocal excellence throughout the EP, but the contributions from backing vocals further strengthen his outstanding work on Thnx For The Ride. “It Ain’t Coming From You” is probably the most biting songwriting moment on the release and Repko’s writing shows a continued willingness to upend listener’s expectations about what’s coming next while still checking off all the boxes for what constitutes great rock music. His vocal here is the EP’s best.
“Maybe I’m Weak” is another powerfully personal number; if this isn’t autobiographical, Repko deserves even more praise because he sings it like his life depends on the performance coming out well. Many listeners will find it impossible to not respond to the plainly emotional qualities of his voice and the same holds true for the song “And I Told Her So”. Repko’s preoccupation with interpersonal relations, namely romantic relationships, definitely isn’t revelatory, but he isn’t reliant on tired formulas in that style either. Heuer unleashes a real burner of a guitar solo with this one. The finale “Make Me Right” is an rip-roaring, brisk closer for Thnx For The Ride that draws out one of Repko’s best pure rock vocals, but there’s still the same attention to detail defining the earlier songs thanks to the inclusion of some key backing vocals. It’s another winner for Rhett Repko and Thnx For The Ride, despite its EP status, has the sound and feel of a major work from this talented musician and songwriter.