Like Leon Redbone or a more sartorially-oriented Randy Newman, Logan Metz lives through his instruments to tell a narrative rather than relying on the traditional format of a long play record. On The Last Remaining Payphone in L.A. Metz shares a cynical look back at his stint as an Angelino through championing virtue, condemning vice and all the while inhabiting a cacophony of vintage sounds. Metz is just as quickly one of the gang as he is one of the gang’s grandfathers, yet that hardly separates him from connecting with the sardonic youth scene.
The majority of Metz’ latest batch of songs sound as though lifted straight out of the Great American Songbook and filtered through an novelty player piano in some Southern California boardwalk. They emulate an era of near-perfection, while reflecting the tarnished admiration for a bygone era by a city that was still figuring out how to draw up its streets as Tin Pan Alley thrived. It’s either an alarming realization of how little the titular city has come or an intriguing jibe at the nicety of the statehood for no apparent reason, but on Payphone Metz pulls the curtains off the Steinway and tells it all.
Metz must be an enthralling live act, as the only foible of Payphone finds the record becoming entirely sleepier as the tracks wind down. As “An Evening At The Cove” looses steam from a raucous five tracks preceding it, there’s little catch up being played. Perhaps a slight re-sequencing could’ve set Payphone into a position of real Americana buzz – though there’s a sneaking suspicion it will generate some fun regardless.