It’s no secret that I’m a bit of a sucker for two things: a clever name (either band or album), and something a bit weird. This ticks both boxes. Heavy Meta came out earlier in the year, and I’ve only just discovered it which is a bit of shame as I could have spent the last couple of months listening to it. Better late than never though, right?
As well as having the best folkie fro since Tim Buckley, Ron Gallo has produced one of the most interesting records I’ve heard recently. It mixes a 60’s garage band sound with a bit of classic rock and a punk ethic. It’s a bit difficult to place in terms of genre, but based on the vocals and guitars, let’s go for halfway between The Cramps and the B52s. That’s probably about as good as anything else I could come up with.
The first track, ‘Young Lady, You’re Scaring Me’ actually sounds a bit like it could be on one of those Vietnam soundtracks you can pick up. There’s a touch of Creedence Clearwater Revival to it, albeit with those deadpan new wave vocals over the top. ‘Put the Kids to Bed’ sounds like a Jefferson Airplane outtake I’ve never heard before. ‘Kill the Medicine Man’ is equal parts bluesy, poppy and bonkers. And that’s just the first three songs.
‘Why Do You Have Kids’ is a track I particularly like. It’s quite frenetic and paranoid sounding and it builds and builds throughout. It’s also a good example of the type of song titles used all over the album, and the quirky lyrics and song themes. ‘Black Market Eyes’ is more conventionally Led Zeppelinesque. I could probably go on, but I don’t like going track by track through whole records. Suffice to say there are a ton of influences on display here. And the different elements all work together brilliantly, although in a slightly off-kilter kind of way. But that’s ok, more than ok, I like being surprised from time to time. Originality is a difficult thing to argue with.
This is definitely one to check out if you feel like something a bit different. Other reviews I’ve since found call it a “burst of literate electricity”, and Gallo himself an “insurgent poet”. I don’t know about that, but it’s certainly a record that seems consciously self-aware. Or is that too pretentious a thing to say? Whatever, it’s a really good listen. Give it a go.
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