It only takes a fleeting glance of the tracklisting of Heavy Meta to know that I am going to like Ron Gallo. I mean, come on, the Philadelphian’s first track is called ‘Young Lady, You’re Scaring Me‘ and meets you nose to nose with a confrontational Jack White style guitar riff and a vocal comparable to Wall Of Voodoo‘s Stan Ridgway (an increasing trend in bands these days, it seems). Oh yes. I’m going to like Ron Gallo. I’m going to like him a LOT.
Relentlessly fuzzy, impossibly infectious and full of frustration with the word at large, somehow Gallo manages to remain entertaining despite his sharp observations of people’s routine hostility and ill acceptance of anything vaguely breaching the norm in their pathetic little misinformed bubble. Oftentimes, Gallo sounds rather like Louisiania counterpart Kyle Craft, though the latter’s work is perhaps more euphoric and certainly a world away from Heavy Meta‘s cloyed exasperation.
Whilst I have suggested a frantic state of affairs, it would be churlish of me to propose that this sounds merely like The Sonics having a bun fight with Thee Oh Sees in an antiques store in front of an increasingly nervous proprietor (though some of it DOES sound like that). No, there are reprieves of sorts; ‘Black Market Eyes‘, for example, or the charmingly titled ‘All The Punks Are Domesticated‘ are more restrained slow burners, though the former explodes furiously towards the tail end of the song, and the latter is hardly complimentary either. ‘Temporary Slave‘ too, which closes proceedings, is almost like a fifties ballad turned stoner opus, even featuring those falsettoed “la la la” asides so beloved of the performers of yesteryear.
The contempt in many of these compositions, however, cannot be ignored. The likes of ‘Why Do You Have Kids?‘ can only be marvelled at, and is surely something that many of us have wondered as we witness children being slapped unceremoniously by their parents in supermarkets on a daily basis for daring to complain that their feet hurt because their shoes are too small for their feet. Or something equally innocuous. It would appear that, for all his apparent bitterness, Ron Gallo is actually one of the good guys, striving to make this a better place in a world which seems to be progressively unwilling to comply.
Heavy Meta rarely lets up where quality is concerned, but for what it is worth, highpoints come in the shape of the vibrantly melodic ‘Put The Kids To Bed‘, and the soul searching Led Zeppelin-like riffery of ‘Am I Demon?‘. As Gallo himself says: “This record comes from my frustration with humanity and myself, and from my wanting to shake us all.” Well you’ve definitely done that, Ron, but happily you have rocked us and rolled us in the most exquisite of manner too.
Heavy Meta is released on 10th February through New West.