Metro Stylee bill themselves as “soul garage ska.” That’s about as good a description as anything of their sound on this self-titled debut. They have a bit of a rough edge, but their soulful infectiousness is impossible to ignore. I’d heard a couple of compilation tracks from them before, but I was unprepared for how catchy this record really is.
Okay, so singer Patricia Verdolino can sound a lot like Cyndi Lauper on helium sometimes. This is a trait that has made their comp tracks stand out, but not necessarily in a good way. Over the course of a full album this unique vocal style works a lot better, though. A re-recorded “Destroy” sounds a lot stronger than the version on last year’s Girls Go Ska comp, for example. “Lullaby,” “Perfect,” and especially “Diana” also showcase her talents to good effect. Still, it’s almost a shame that her voice is so distinctive; at times it threatens to overshadow what great musicians make up this band. The soulful groove the band sets on track after track will have you bopping along in your chair without even realizing it; I’ve caught myself bouncing along several times just while writing the review! This is a band that sounds like it’s having fun making music! Nowhere is this clearer than when Coolie Ranx joins Metro Stylee for a little toasting on “Back Again;” this song begs for a sunny day with the top down to barrel down the highway along with.
I find that I like this record a little more each time that I listen to it. While there are a few tracks I could do without (like “Shallow Me,” which just seems to sit there), and the pseudo-East Indian lyrical content in some of the songs seems only half thought out, this really is a pretty strong debut. I imagine that with a few breaks, Metro Stylee could be a real force to be reckoned with! DVS Media, 9 Pearl St., Salem, MA 01970; http://www.metrostylee.com