Maryland-based rocker Rhett Repko sure knows his way around a melody. Listen to a few of his songs and you’ll immediately ‘get it’: grunge rock with a pop twist, catchy songs about the ups and downs of love. What might take you a couple more listens to realize is that there’s some pretty sophisticated songwriting at work here, that these scrappy emo-surf-punk rockers are making smart musical choices that bring their songs to the next level. ‘Were You Ever Really Mine?,” the lead track off their newest release, is a great case in point.
There’s a sense of the classic here, of mastery of the fundamentals. Both lyrically and instrumentally, this song keeps an eye back to its predecessors in the history of rock. Repko admits as much in an interview with VENTS Magazine, naming legends like The Beatles, Arctic Monkeys, and Nirvana as influences on this new eponymous EP. The pop appeal of the songwriting and the hard, buzzy sound of the guitars certainly reflect these influences, as well as of bands like Green Day and Good Charlotte in their flair for the dramatically ambitious and their pleading, piercing vocals.
Influences aside, Repko and company have forged their own sound here. For every move Repko makes in the song, his band is there to back him up perfectly. The drummer in particular deserves a large part of the credit for keeping it driving forward, employing just the right groove for every musical moment. The lead guitar sounds rich, letting loose tones that shake their way somewhere deep. Repko’s vocals are confident yet vulnerable, bending the melodies into bubblegum shapes, backed by low, resonant harmonies that give it all the more substance. The arrangement prevents a familiar sound and fairly standard chords from sounding stale – quite the opposite in fact! We’re just starting to hear from Rhett Repko, and already his songs can rock you right on through your troubles and into the next dimension. We can’t wait to hear what this crafty musician will come out with next.
Review written by MuzicNotez writer Haakon Williams
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