Really Nice Guys EP

Ron Gallo

New West Records, 2018

REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen


If you were judging a disc by its cover, you might think Ron Gallo is a not so serious guy. And the inside is even better; the CD is made to look like a CDR with mildly legible writing scrawled out by a sharpie.

In actuality, Gallo is a seriously great musician, even if this EP is basically him having a little fun about his year touring for his last album, Heavy Meta, while parodying the music industry. The EP title is even an industry jab, as many just can't say a band is horrible and instead resort to the line “They're really nice guys.”my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

“Rough Mix” starts the quick listen and it's just that – a primitive recording that builds into a full, lush rock song with Gallo's keen sense of garage rock and fun, thriving rock ‘n’ roll. “Really Nice Guys” follows and brings the listen into blues rock territory, before the turbulent, thrashy rocker “Related Artists (For Fans Of...),” which sounds like Gallo going hardcore.

The listen does have some quieter moments, especially with the soft, hypnotic “I'm On The Guestlist,” but “YouTubular” brings the volume back with classic and psych-rock moments that border close to jam band territory.

Near the end are a couple of tracks that are either the most unnecessary or brilliant depending on what side of the fence you're on. “The East Nashville Kroger Conversation” is actually just that, a recorded conversation at a grocery store about touring and putting people on the guest list, which Gallo says is basically the same conversation that occurs in every grocery store in Nashville. Another quirky track, “Pull Quote,” features abrasive, fuzzed-out guitars in between recorded conversations that are Gallo's secret recordings of his mother's boyfriend talking about the EP after having heard it for the first time.

For those uninterested in the comedic side here, “Emotional Impact For Sale” is one of the best songs that Gallo has done to date. A beautiful display of harmonic retro-pop with a heavy nod to The Beatles, this track finds Gallo breaking down his job as a musician as someone who essentially sells feelings, and this one certainly has plenty for purchase.

On this very clever effort from one of the hardest working guys in music today, Gallo shows that his Philadelphia roots are still very apparent, though his new home of Nashville certainly isn't too far from the equation, too, making him one of the most exciting artists on the New West roster.

Rating: A-

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© 2018 Tom Haugen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of New West Records, and is used for informational purposes only.