It’s crazy to think that guitarist Scott Metzger, who is well known for his work with Joe Russo’s Almost Dead, WOLF!, RANA and numerous other scene staples, has yet to release his own album until now. But better late than never—Too Close to Reason, Metzger’s first-ever solo offering, is a gorgeous collection of 12 instrumentals that showcases a wide range of compositional styles. Yet, the sounds contained within the set REVIEWS will likely be a surprise, even for fans who have followed his work over the past two decades. Drawing from the folk stylings of John Fahey, Django Reinhardt and, more recently, William Tyler, Metzger’s work displays a wide-range of emotion, from introspection on “Don’t Be a Stranger” and “At Your Service,” to more romantic notions like on “Café Hidalgo” and “When Katie Smiles.” A lot of the music here is rather straight forward—Metzger plays with the arrangements at times, but the compositions are meant to keep you engaged in a musical narrative that he’s creating throughout each of number. That said, there are also some welcome spurts of weirdness. “Appropriate Wattage,” which kicks off Reason, is more in the vein of an abstract Brian Eno composition. “Damage,” which appears midway through the album, is the clear outlier of the set. It’s frenetic and disorienting, with Metzger overlaying a variety of different sound collages together, where form isn’t nearly the point like it is on the rest of the album. These moments, though, are few and far between. Metzger wrote the music at the start of the pandemic, and it’s remarkable to think back at that time when the world was coming apart at the seams. Instead of breaking down, he composed something incredibly humble and beautiful over the course of these 12 songs.
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