Metro Expo defies and all expectations on the playful psychedelic swing of “Metro Expo 2”. The songs stun thanks in large part to Fred Marcoty’s giddy delivery. With this album he expands his repertoire even further, beyond the blues to incorporate elements of Americana, the blues, carnival music, jazz, and krautrock done right. Eclectic to his very core, these songs surprise, with startling twists and turns to keep the listener on their toes. In spite of this wild, unhinged experimentation there rests a very real and true sense of songcraft, one which creates some impeccable hooks that sink into the mind in the best way possible.
Influences abound and his references further afield than before. Mike Patton’s countless number of projects looms large, but in particular the sudden shifts of tone recall Mr. Bungle’s maddening displays. The multifaceted lyricism also touches a little onto Bob Dylan’s most soulful work, no mean feat given the unruly beasts that many of these tracks are. Never that far away are nods to midcentury jazz greats like Stan Getz, Antonio Carlos Jobim, and others whose impressionistic performances inform much of what goes on within the tremendous slabs of sound, the sorts that swirl around in the mind.
On the opener “The Mountain” the multi-suite symphonic bliss feels beautiful, as the lyricism hints at absolute bursts of color. Truly demented energy, like a drunken French ballad, informs the beautiful sound of “Merry-go-Round” an early highlight. Jaunty, New Orleans-style jazz unfurls on the languid grooves of “Old Men Sleeping”. Horns make “Anhedonia” a true delight, for the song’s pure unfiltered energy is pure celebration at its very core, with the jazz flute thrown into the mix a nice touch. Pure chaos reigns supreme over the theatrics of “The Wrong Side of the Street”.
Lounge lizards on acid dominate over the woozy whirlwind of “Cheesy Tunes at the Mall”. Impeccable guitar riffs race through the blurred brilliance of “Homeland Rock”, by far the highlight of the album. Swing meets rock meets so much else; the song is an infectious blast. Things slow down with a bit of a reflective presence on “Ghost in a Field”. Quieter with a contemplative edge “Black Hole” offers a contemplative temperament. Neatly tying together, the entire thing is the fantastic woozy approach of the colossal close of “The Brewerman”.
Thought-provoking and an absolute dizzying accomplishment, Metro Expo crafts one of those wild, weird and wonderful albums with “Metro Expo 2”.