Metronomy | Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Monday, May 20th, 2024  


Walking it Back

Oct 20, 2016 Issue #58 - The Protest Issue Photography by Ian Maddox Bookmark and Share

Romanticizing the past can easily metamorphose into cheap nostalgia. On first blush, Metronomy‘s newest, Summer 08, feels like a prime candidate to succumb to this malady. Thankfully it doesn’t, due to frontman Joseph Mount’s ability to distance himself from situations and observe them objectively, all the while crafting an eminently enjoyable album at myriad levels.

Mount’s married now, with two children, which has caused a sea change in his perspective. “I think the big difference is that if I’d made this record now as someone who’d had a failed relationship in my early 30s, a bit adrift, I think it would be more of a nostalgic, melancholy kind of record,” he says. “The difference is that’s not the case now. I feel good. [The album is] about trying to get back to a certain place, and not being able to, and the preoccupations of a mid 20-year-old me [in that place] were so nothing, really. It’s reveling in my own past naïveté.”

The album itself harks to Metronomy’s early work, which Mount says is something of a gift to his fans who tolerated his Motown inflected experimentation on 2014’s Love Letters, an aberration from his earlier work, but an excellent one nonetheless. “Love Letters was an analog recording, and I wanted to delve back into computer music and get back into the speed at which I could work,” says Mount.

Summer 08 also features guests in Swedish pop icon Robyn, on the ebullient “Hang Me Out to Dry,” and Beastie Boys’ turntablist Mixmaster Mike on “Old Skool,” the first time Mount’s allowed big name outsiders into his relatively insular world. He says of Robyn, “She’s someone I’ve known now for a few years, and I’ve become friends with her, and the track she’s on, I was doing an impression of a girl, and I thought the song deserved better than that.” Mount’s had something of a parallel career with Robyn, having years ago “seen her in a tiny room in London,” so this isn’t a crass ploy to attract attention.

Mount contacted Mixmaster Mike to provide a vertiginous scratch grove on “Old Skool,” the album’s first single, because when he was younger he was “obsessed with becoming a DJ, and was listening to [Beastie Boys’] Hello Nasty on repeat.” Like his deployment of Robyn, this plays into the overriding motif of the album, of looking back while still expanding your artistic breadth.

Ultimately, the record superbly captures the imagination of youth, an illustration of how time and distance can provide clarity gleaned from earlier experiences. “I’m still kind of stealing ideas from me 10 years ago,” says Mount. “There’s a feeling of being indebted to the younger you, which seems like a naive little creature. But actually you become aware that you’re the same person. In a way, it’s nothing more than that. Isn’t that curious?”[Note: This article originally appeared in Under the Radar’s August/September/October 2016 Issue, which is out now. This is its debut online.]


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