Last time around, m-flo delivered an album that was big on beats, hooks and singles. Threaded together by an imaginary interplanetary flight, Planet Shining introduced the world to a group that easily navigated R&B, hip-hop and even electronica.
With its new album Expo Expo, the Japanese trio deliver another hour of more of the same with one distinct difference — more filler.
Which is to say that the singles from Expo Expo — “How You Like Me Now?”, “come again” and “orbit-3” — stand out as stellar tracks against the not-as-insanely-catchy album tracks.
m-flo does try to stretch its musical muscle here and there. The title track zooms in and out of a dizzying array of tempo changes. “Yours only” showcases Lisa balladeering up there with Mariah Carrey and Utada Hikaru.
But when Verbal takes the mic and Lisa is nowhere to be found, Expo
Expo loses momentum. “Dispatch” is dead weight. “The Bandwagon” does an OK job of winding down the album, but it doesn’t have that sense of closure “been so long” possessed.
The remaining tracks on the album require a few listens before they reveal their appeal. “prism” makes for a sensible next single with its driving beat, and “magenta rain” has a really nice, jazzy, laid-back feel.
m-flo is no slouch in producing glossy, polished R&B pop, and Expo Expo is still light years better than the assembly-line teen craze
gripping the U.S. at the moment. But compared to the band’s shiny debut, this second album has a minor case of the sophomore slump.
Fans will love this album, but some of us part-time admirers can stick to putting “orbit-3” on repeat.