A.V. Club Most Read

News Newswire Great Job, Internet!
TV Club All Reviews What's On Tonight
Video All Video A.V. Undercover A.V. Cocktail Club Film Club
Reviews All Reviews Film TV Music Books
Features All Features Newswire Around Town
Sections Film Tv Music Food Comedy Books Games Aux
Our Company About Us Contact Advertise Privacy Policy Careers RSS
Onion Inc. Sites The Onion The A.V. Club ClickHole Onion Studios

Metro Area: Metro Area

-

Metro Area

Album: Metro Area
Label: Environ

Community Grade

  • A
  • A-
  • B+
  • B
  • B-
  • C+
  • C
  • C-
  • D+
  • D
  • D-
  • F
?

Your Grade

?

Straight-and-narrow nostalgia may be an impediment to progress, but what happens when the past comes back as a better version of itself? That question is worth considering for musicians across the board, from rock to hip-hop, but it's been a top-of-mind priority in dance music, as everything from electro to fusion-jazz gets treated to technological and stylistic rewrites that trade roots for reach. Digging into the era invoked by Playgroup and numerous bands at the dancier end of the post-punk spectrum, Metro Area pays tribute to the early-'80s New York club sounds dreamt up between the tail end of disco and the full-on realization of hip-hop. Built around raw boom-bap drum patterns and ornaments like handclaps and shakers, the grooves on Metro Area swagger at a speed too slow for house but too fast for hip-hop, deftly resurrecting a time when funky desires congealed into a gooey center not yet sure-footed enough to step out along genre lines. "Intro" and "Dance Reaction" set a welcoming tone with warm, wet rhythms and way-back synth sounds, but before long, the album strikes a tone too forcefully good to write off as homage. "Square Pattern Aura" sets a juicy electric-piano figure in a bath of production touches—rubbery electro winks, death-disco sizzle—that never stops churning. "Machine Vibes" glides over an airy expanse of early-morning funk and gilded shaker shimmy. Impeccably rich producers, Metro Area helmsmen Morgan Geist and Darshan Jesrani match their high-fidelity sound fetishes with melodies that stake a claim to the highest mantle of instrumental songwriting. Restlessly shifting songs like "Atmosphrique" and "Soft Hoop" verge on proto-digital symphonies, running bump-worthy bass walks over spare synth riffs and triangle twinkles that do the work of a full band. Boasting a number of tracks that are fast becoming staples on DJ mix-discs, Metro Area never takes its eyes off the past, but its vision of perfect beats couldn't be clearer.