On Push Back, Ohio musician Kelc Galluzzo—who performs dynamic indie pop-rock under the moniker of Jetty Bones—presents a poignantly sprawling portrait of internal disarray and relief.
Push Back is the debut full-length album from Jetty Bones, and it drops on February 26 via Rise Records. The album definitely isn’t entirely gloomy, and there’s even quite a bit of energy in the sound, but it doesn’t feature an overarching sensation of conclusive catharsis. An earnestness-covered tension in the music doesn’t disappear by the end.
Instead, the album explores an experience of living out life once issues like mental illness have settled into place—or trying to, at least. Travails like these are multi-faceted and don’t disappear via flipping a switch—if only they did—and on Push Back, Galluzzo depicts trying to find a place for life under these clouds.
On “Waking Up Crying,” which is the album’s very first track, Galluzzo lays out what feels like a guiding theme for the album when she sings the striking and poignant refrain: “I would laugh but I woke up crying.”
With refreshing honesty, the album explores a sometimes all-too-familiar internal drive to outwardly smile through inward emotional strain. The feeling of the instrumentals leans towards a sort of gleeful abandon, as though running through a pouring rain storm, but Push Back feels very reflective of emotional nuance. It’s not detached—it’s emotionally real and striking.
There’s a tension in the sound between bright splashes of melody and an unmistakable undercurrent of unease. These sides of the album feel very organically interwoven, providing the sense of emotional reality in the songs. All of the tracks are smooth, leaving a level of tension and an accompanying urge to move forward on central display while moving through the outwardly upbeat tunes.
The Jetty Bones sound features a vibrantly diverse palette, from the breezy indie rock and subtle beat combo of album opener “Waking Up Crying” and the retro dance anthem vibe on “Nothing” to the straight-up bluegrass on “Dolly” and the sort of straightforward indie rock on “Taking Up Space” and “Bad Trick,” the latter of which feels rather stormily energetic.
Sometimes, Galluzzo’s lyrics sound piercingly and vulnerably despairing, which contrasts jarringly with the consistently forward-moving energy of the Jetty Bones sound.
On “Dolly,” for instance, she sings: “Well I’m just trying to figure out who I want you all to grieve, because I know I gotta leave… I’ll be dead before you even think to save me.” The instrumentals of the song aren’t particularly somber, at least at first pass—they’re moving quickly along.
Alongside other elements of the album, this potentially disorienting contrast poignantly reflects an experience of living with inward struggle in a world that would prefer to pretend that the pain didn’t exist.
Throughout the album, Galluzzo’s singing is rather vibrant and poignantly expressive, as she tends to match the energy of her instrumentals with her vocal performances. The emotively wavering dynamics in the rhythms make these songs feel like a very personal portrait of her life experiences, and the journey feels quite accessible, like a musical conversation.
We don’t have all the answers—or maybe even any of the answers—but being here is enough.
Purchase this album at this link.