First appearances are not promising with groove cat Jon Fernans’ latest effort, “Metaphysical Blues.” The new-agey title seems like an attempt to bully ears into a certain way of listening. And it’s too bad, because the record itself has some enjoyable moments.

In “My Cuban Queen,” faux xylophone plays nice with an open snare/shaker beat, and the result is catchy flirtation paired well with a couple of margaritas. This spacey shuffle feel makes a welcome return on “My Laurie,” where acoustic strumming and hand drums fend off wince-worthy lyrics about “making babies till the end of time.” Fernans underwhelms as a vocalist — think wobbly Willie Nelson with awkward, forced vibrato — on the slow-dance clunker “Lonesome Sea.”

As evidenced by the sticky backbeat in the penultimate “Forgiveness,” the team assembled in the studio knows how to move bodies; they are practiced players capable of funky laments of every shade and tempo. Fernans himself knows his way around the neck of his guitar, and when the jam rules, the sound sizzles.

But the battle-tested writer should know better than to stuff so many obvious couplets into a song. Recycled ideas too often come off as indulgent fluff, and this LP is about five songs too long. Fernans would do well to tighten up his objective and see where “less is more” might lead.

Mike Olcott is a freelance writer who lives in Portland and Boston.