Ron Gallo – Heavy Meta
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. With lines like 'now the Pop Tarts climb the pop charts,' it’s not exactly Pavement’s Fillmore Jive as far as state-of-the-nation screeds go, but it’s a bold opening statement that sums up Gallo’s worldview on this record – that of a classic rock purist with a strong sense of integrity and a misanthropist streak that sometimes gets the better of him.
Heavy Meta is most likeable when he directs those high standards inwards, as on the Mac DeMarco-nodding and darkly funny stoner ballad Temporary Slave, wherein he calls himself out for slumping into an unproductive rut. 'Toxic lunch, I can’t get enough,' he croons. 'Someone give me a cardboard cut-out of myself to punch.' More often though, Gallo is on the offensive, and his technically commensurate and frequently enjoyable garage rock gets entangled in a scornfulness that becomes a little uncomfortable.
Why Do You Have Kids in particular is borderline heartless, a scathing teardown of a struggling young mother 'dressed in the junkyard nines', who’s reproached for cashing in food money to fuel a drug addiction. Lord knows there’s plenty to be disillusioned about these days, but Gallo’s ire here is misdirected.
Listen to: Temporary Slave, Young Lady, You're Scaring Me