Written by Michael Saulman, posted by blog admin
Hailing from Annapolis, Maryland, guitar slinger Rhett Repko and his posse of groove outlaws have come to rescue pop radio. One can describe the current state of pop music like an old western movie plot; pop music having been taken over by DJs, programmers and cheesy keyboards is the damsel in distress having been kidnapped by outsider rustlers, needing a sheriff Repko has brought real live instruments and his best men to take the genre back to its roots. Do you remember when pop had guitars, bass and drums? I do, but that memory is becoming a faint flicker in the dark.
This 6-cut EP About Last Night is a lost article. Bathed in acoustic brilliance, unafraid to kick up dust with hard-hitting guitar runs and punchy drums, smooth and hypnotic in the vocal department…there is a polish and professionalism to the way Repko and his gang rock. They understand melody/harmony as clearly indicated by intro track, “Were You Ever Really Mine?” Rhett’s captivating higher-timbre lead vocals are positively entrancing as they melt into subtle, catchy harmonies. His soothing acoustic guitars are matched by lead guitarist Stefan Heuer’s explosive electric licks while the forward pushing drums of Tom Bryant and the limber bass lines of Dan Gallagher constantly keep the material moving. This is pop when blessed with purpose and a destination.
Repko also tackles the kind of folky, authentic, dirt road country that isn’t on the radio anymore with “She Loves Me.” Dusty, western-themed acoustics smolder atop a bed of ashen, riff-y lead with plenty of licks undercutting the rhythm work. Whereas modern country has been infiltrated by rap, “She Loves Me” applies rock to a country format for the return of another lost, commercial radio art. “About Last Night” draws the blinds for an after dusk, acoustic-centered piece where symphonic swishes of violin/viola provide an elegant atmosphere for the memorable vocal patterns (Repko’s voice shows great rise/fall dynamics throughout). “Inside of Me” conjures up some sea farin’, Beach Boys’ inspired surf/garage rock that makes equally effective use of boiling electric guitars and pop music’s simplicity (though the throwback production is slightly out of place when stacked up to the EP’s other numbers). It flows into “On the Run” which brings back the savory, acoustic/electric divvy of Repko’s signature pop/rock grooves, leaving finale “Bye Bye Baby” to ride off into the sunset on the hooves of a folky, acoustic guitar gallop.
Rhett Repko is poised to make weaves in the current shaky pop scene thanks to his unwillingness to commit to modern standards. It’s obvious that he is a fan of many great musicians from the 60s/70s, which provides a much more vital era to draw from as opposed to today’s mainstream drivel. This is a solid release that sets the stage for great things to come from this inspiring new artist.