Band: Jetty Bones
Album: Push Back
Label/Vertrieb: Rise Records/BMG/ADA Warner
Push Back is the first full-length record from Jetty Bones, the relentlessly hopeful alt-pop solo project of Ohio artist Kelc Galluzzo. Jetty Bones’ previous releases have waded through the mires of trauma and mental illness, kickstarting an open and earnest relationship between fans and Galluzzo. But this time around, Galluzzo didn’t set out to connect with others. She set out to save herself.
In the end, she succeeded—narrowly. Push Back is proof. The record’s 11 songs document Galluzzo’s wrestle between two selves: the one on stage espousing hope and love, and the one in the van after the show crying helplessly, living with depression, anxiety, impostor syndrome, and suicidal ideations. The record tracks Galluzzo’s reckoning with these two selves, willing them to meet in a permanent ceasefire where they can coexist.
“I finally feel reconnected to the person that I am, and the things that I cared about before, and the roots of where I started this project,” says Galluzzo. Push Back shows listeners how Galluzzo got to this point: “I needed them to know the lowest point that I was at so that eventually, I could show them what overcoming those struggles really means.
“It’s strange to say that a record that revolves so heavily around mental health issues is coming from a place where I’m finally myself again,” she says.
Push Back doesn't follow a traditional trajectory of hopeless to whole; rather, it trails deeper and deeper into the conflict between these two selves until they meet on serene closer “Bug Life,” which Galluzzo wrote as a suicide note five years ago. A fateful phone call interrupted the writing of the note, which appears in the album art.
While on tour with Jetty Bones prior to Push Back, Galluzzo would embrace and support fans at the merch table while they cried, telling them to love and take care of themselves. “Meanwhile, I would leave those shows, sit in the back of the van, fill out merch sheets, and cry,” she says. Touring was full of triggers, leading to Galluzzo taking care of everyone but herself.
A ‘show must go on’ mentality produced a situation where Galluzzo refused to accept her own limits. She didn’t realize the gravity of the situation until she finally wrote, recorded, and assembled the music for Push Back. “They were all about me not being able to be the person other people expected, and trying to rationalize it,” says Galluzzo. “If every song was a conversation, they all ended with me defeated.
“I wanted to humanize myself as a person who really struggles with things, who absolutely does not have my shit together but is still trying really hard.”
Working with producer John Fields (Jonas Brothers, Demi Lovato, Miley Cyrus), Galluzzo has grounded this process in songs that dart between alt-pop confection, indie rock jolt, acoustic melancholy, and even a stomp-and-clap bluegrass romp. Opener “Waking Up Crying” is an indie pop dreamscape, while “That’s All” is a glitchy chamber-pop weave. Lead single “Taking Up Space,” a classic Galluzzo pop-punk ripper, was dubbed one of last year’s best songs by Los Angeles Times.
Galluzzo says that for long-time Jetty Bones fans, the record will be a departure. There’s a reason for that. “This record sounds and feels so different because I was allowing myself to express those feelings in the music I was writing too, instead of just the lyrics,” she says.
“I spent so long believing I couldn’t do this, then I tried to do it. Sometimes it’s not even fully believing you’re capable of something, it’s just believing that you’re capable of trying.”
For Galluzzo, the future is a question mark. But Push Back is a crystallization of the past, an object of struggle and survival with which she and Jetty Bones fans can arm themselves going forward. “I don’t know what this project is anymore,” says Galluzzo. “With this record coming out, I don’t know who I’m going to be to people anymore. But I think it’s time that I just am secure in being myself on my good days and my bad days.”