Release Date: Feb 3, 2017
Record label: New West
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Garage Punk, Indie Rock
P erhaps now more than usual, we could sorely use a garage rock record whose emphasis on lurid fun doesn't sacrifice depth. Step forward Ron Gallo, formerly of Philadelphians Toy Soldiers (nope, us neither), now residing in Nashville. He and two band members on bass and drums combine the sound of an excellent night out with songs about scary girlfriends, monsters who drop cigarette ash on babies' heads (Why Do You Have Kids?), buying eyeballs and, on Kill the Medicine Man, chemical distractions.
Ron Gallo spent close to a decade exploring the boundaries of his blues, country, and roots rock influences with his band Toy Soldiers, but when he jumped ship to go solo, he left all of that behind. At least that's the very strong impression given by Gallo's second solo album, 2017's Heavy Meta. Gallo's first solo effort, 2014's Ronny, was a step away from Toy Soldiers' sound into a brighter and poppier direction, but with Heavy Meta, he's done an about-face into raw, wiry, guitar-based rock & roll.
Heavy? You bet. Meta? Absolutely. You won't hear any of the twang and strum of Americana on East Nashville by way of Philadelphia's Ron Gallo's debut for the eclectic, rootsy New West label. Instead, the ex-Toy Soldiers frontman digs into rollicking, glam/garage rock and roll, heavy on multiple guitar riffs and a roaring attack that spews confidence, making this sound like Gallo's fifth album, not his first.
Ron Gallo is fed up; with himself, with other people, with rock music, with technology, with junk food - the whole stinking business. He opens his solo debut by narrating what he sees as society's slow decline as refracted through the supposed death of rock'n'roll, bemoaning a world in which the radicals have hung up their guitars and the most revered creative visionaries now head up tech companies. 'All of the punks are domesticated,' Gallo sings over a simple but compelling two-chord riff, his exacting and somewhat sour delivery part Dylan, part Alex Turner.