Do you remember FM radio? Some of my earliest memories of radio happen to be when FM was at its peak in the mid to late 70s. “Classic rock” wasn’t designated as such back then – it was just called “rock.” There were bands like The Kinks, The Velvet Underground, and eventually some brand new act called Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. The tunes were played in sets, sometimes from the whole sides of albums – broken up by personal commentary from people known as “D.J.’s.” If you didn’t get a chance to experience those days, know that Marco Ranieri can help you.

Marco Ranieri

Ranieri is a guitar player already established around the New York music scene because of the energy of his live stage performances – and he’s been part of several “almost-famous” bands including the Shoobies (NYC) and Mae Pang (Philadelphia). Teaming with a line-up of gifted musicians who already have a strong pedigree of notoriety, Marco has crafted a debut solo EP that features an alternative edginess with a welcomed familiarity. The title track itself (“Heartbroken Radio”) even lyrically transports listeners by utilizing certain nuances of times that are indefinable – except through the pure and simple means of experiencing great music. For our benefit, the “Heartbroken” EP is chock-full of that – great music. The vibrant opening number “Jet Plane” is this reviewer’s favorite, which treats you to an immediate take-off into vintage, retro-rock-dome – driven by guitar riffs and melodies which have that luscious sense of being both familiar and original at the same time. The song’s bridge throws the listener into a surprising, yet savory twist – followed by an intoxicating instrumental section featuring flanged guitar, Hammond organ, and piano. All this is eventually wrapped up with an extremely well-crafted instrumental section that hearkens tuned-in ears to the kinds of songs they tend to forget were actually “written” by someone – and didn’t just “always exist” (sort of like seeing a documentary about the carving of Mt. Rushmore – ”You mean, that didn’t just always… exist?”). From that point on – including the Tom Petty-esque “Nico” to the more sentimental “It’s Gonna Rain” – the album never lets up. From my experience, it’s a chance, back-seat ride with my older brother and his friends – along with the radio blaring, the windows down, and life being forgotten for a little while.

So check out Marco Ranieri’s “Heartbroken Radio” and re-tune yourself into an appreciation of “rock” – done purely and simply.

-Review by Francis H with Indie Band Guru

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