Album Review: Ron Gallo - "Heavy Meta"
By Ian Bremner
Deep down in most twenty and thirty-somethings is a bit of '90s punk rock. It was a weird decade that may not have contributed much in the way of pop culture to anyone not raised in '90s (besides flannel and grunge), but for those who were, those fabled years are rooted deep within. Ron Gallo is more than a '90s punk rocker but his often-worn Goosebumps T-shirt still says a lot about him and his music.
Gallo’s new record, Heavy Meta, is out now via Nashville-label, New West Records. The record originally was demoed and recorded at Gallo’s apartment in Philadelphia with bandmates Dylan Sevey and Joe Bisirri before packing up shop to Tennessee to get the job done. Ron Gallo is a tall, skinny, striking, afro-possessing figure. His lyrics lean towards the dark end of the spectrum, but they’re easy to relate to in terms of trying to make sense of a truly twisted world these days. He touches on seemingly mundane social interactions, which are trending towards extinction. Observational lines like the straightforward track, "Why Do You Have Kids," hits home in ways you don’t normally think of. It’s pure rock 'n' roll music and though the womanizing, drug-filled, rock 'n 'roll aesthetic of the 1970s is not all that realistic these days, Ron Gallo is proof that “rock 'n' roll” is simply good rock 'n' roll songs. Heavy Meta is packed full of them.
"Young Lady, You’re Scaring Me" comes straight out of the chute to set the tone for the whole record. The album is hard to pin down, but the cynical lyrics give it those emo garage punk vibes that are hard to come by. There’s plenty of fuzz and pop hooks, yet buried underneath it all are the sharp turns of phrase and highly observational anecdotes that are the true core of the record. Even the acoustic "Black Market Eyes" is stretched and fuzzed out to fit the punchy and compact collection of rock songs.
Once the leader of the band Toy Soldiers, Gallo’s days as a frontman seem like they are just taking off. Getting back to his '90s punk roots seems to have instilled a renewed sense of confidence and lyrical style. Heavy Meta as a title alone may seem like easy wordplay, but both words ring true. Heavy Meta is both heavy, and meta, but mostly a highly listenable rock record for the times.