Metropolitan Farms and Wondernaut/Less Love

Metropolitan Farms “Our Hero Pleads His Flimsy Case”
That Portland band Metropolitan Farms have an alt. pop sound that veers close to Guided By Voices is no surprise. Lead singer Josh Mayer plays in a GBV cover band (Giant Bug Village) and on the opener “Stars All Fall” it immediately reminds us, although this band has less of DYI quality. Several early tracks are fairly forgettable, but the song quality leaps forward on “Tear Me Apart”  with its Posies-like guitar attack. They hit their stride with the excellent “I Could Be Anything.” The gentle acoustic of “Just Below The Clothes” ignores the fact that we are not porn stars, and the melody is super catchy.

Another highlight is the synth-guitar Weezer like “Beer Commercial” which is a teenage fanatasy about life in beer commercial (Coors Light, is my guess). A few more gems are buried here, like “If You’re Asking” with its the Mod-era Who styled harmonies and the easy going “Don’t Wait Up For Me, Katie” with its hummable chorus. Worth discovering for sure.

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Wondernaut/Less Love “Paradigms In The Design”
It is not often two bands share an album release, but Oklahoma City bands Wondernaut and Less Love team up to give us Paradigms In Design. These bands play well together, the starting duet “Like Shaking Hands” feels authentic and compelling. Then Wondernaut give us a mid-western Coldplay alternative on “No One But Me” and Less Love go ’80s syth and crashing percussion on “Lollygagging,” like a Bauhaus-Joy Division clone.

The style shifts are jarring and I found myself skipping the hard stuff for soft collaborations of male/female duet in “If You (UK Surf).” The electro-beat version of the song ends the album. Wondernaut benefits from the slower guitar compositions “Mountains In The Sky” and the solid mid-tempo “The Man Who Hated Man.” I found Less Love a tougher sell and tended to skip those tracks, maybe because they sounded like art-pop, or possibly they just didn’t have any consistency.

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