Metronomy: Love Letters (Elektra) - album review | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Wednesday, October 16th, 2019  

Metronomy

Love Letters

Elektra

Mar 10, 2014 Issue #49 - February/March 2014 - Portlandia Bookmark and Share


Under the direction of frontman and lead songwriter Joseph Mount, the last few years have seen Metronomy hone themselves into Britain's most unique and forward-thinking pop group. Switching from the niche glitchtronica of their early work into subtle, well-observed eccentric pop, the band has extended the scope of its sound whilst exploring idiosyncratic themes, drawing influence from Mount's youth amongst the sun-kissed holiday resorts of his home county Devon. Conversely, latest album Love Letterswhile drawing inspiration from the same placesextends the metaphor to the off-season, where the rides have closed, the beaches are empty, and you are alone.

From the quiet pleas of opener "The Upsetter," where Mount sings, "I'm back out on the Riviera/It gets so cold at night," the album sets up a world full of loneliness ("Call Me"), heartbreak ("Never Wanted"), longing ("I'm Aquarius"), and petty jealousies ("The Most Immaculate Haircut"), a world which feels entirely alternate to their last LP. This is a different space from that occupied by The English Riviera and yet entirely the same, the night to its daywhere the holiday is over and all you have to keep you warm are your memories.

Of course, what's more remarkable is how Love Letters still sounds unquestionably like Metronomywith the eclectic mixture of electronica, off kilter rhythms, and Mount's distinctive vocals all still present. The reason why it works lies in the group's deftness of touch, a clarity of sound that allows for eccentric twists such as the baroque pop of the electronic harpsichord that opens "Monstrous," the spiky New Wave rattle of "Month of Sundays," or even the hypnotic nod to 1970s German electronica on intense instrumental "Boy Racers." These touches ensure that it rarely feels dourdespite the gloomy themesremaining immensely listenable, infectiously catchy and at times downright fun.

While there's undoubtedly less of a paradigm shift in their work on Love Letters, in many ways it's improved by that, allowing the group to explore more macro-subtleties in the music that was first perfected on The English Riviera. Pushing away the froth and frivolity, they leave a darker, more satisfying, and ultimately superior record in their wake. (www.metronomy.co.uk)

Author rating: 8.5/10

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Average reader rating: 9/10



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