Written by Wendy Owens, posted by blog admin
Rhett Repko’s new seven song EP Thnx For The Ride capped an active 2017 for this impressive musician, writer, and performer. His previous EP release About Last Night occupies a much clearer singer/songwriter niche than the new release, but he sustains the same level of excellence that’s defined his work from the outset with this new release while taking his music in a distinctly different than before. Thnx For The Ride is an outright rock and roll album – there’s some acoustic guitar present with the release, but there’s no question that electric guitar dominates these songs and Repko proves to be credible in that mold. He has an outstanding band accompanying him on this seven track journey. Lead guitarist Stefan Heuer, bassist Dan Gallagher, and drummer Tom Bryant is a crack musical unit who are never flashy without cause and give Repko’s songwriting the added spark it deserves.
The EP opener and title song “Thnx for the Ride” announces the collection’s intentions. Repko clearly wanted a gripping, immediate sound and this tune doesn’t disappoint as “Thx for the Ride” features shake you by the lapels rock thunder along with some deft shifts in time signature and tempo the band flawlessly pull off. “Please Don’t Laugh” is a little closer to straight forward rock than the opener, but there’s the same high degree of musicianship pushing things forward that distinguishes the title number. Repko’s vocal here stands out as one of the best on the EP and he mixes emotive phrasing with high energy in a way ideally suited for these songs.
A songwriting high point arrives with the track “It Ain’t Coming From You”, and Repko fans the caustic flame of heartache burning inside this song with an impassioned singing performance. Guitarist Stefan Heuer contributes some important harmony vocals throughout Thnx For The Ride, never vying with Repko for supremacy in the mix, but rather strengthening his already fine delivery. The song is musically compelling, as well, particularly during its surprising second half. “And I Told Her So” is probably Stefan Heuer’s finest moment as a guitar player on this EP and his lead work late in the song immeasurably adds to its final impact. The lyrics are exceptional, once again, without ever overreaching and Repko’s vocal ranks with the earlier “Please Don’t Laugh” as one of his best moments on Thnx For The Ride.
The brisk pacing of “Learn Your Name” allows for a number of stuttering tempo changes, yet the song never goes astray and has genuine commercial appeal to go along with its unimpeachable rock spirit. The finale “Make Me Right” is a fiery curtain for the EP and serves as a musical exclamation point for everything that’s preceded it. Rhett Repko’s written and recorded quite an explosive little rock release with Thnx For The Ride and it’s intriguing to wonder where his Muse might lead him from here.