Metronomy - Joseph Mount on the Band’s New Album, “Love Letters,” and Avoiding Dad Rock | Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Metronomy - Joseph Mount on the Band’s New Album, “Love Letters,” and Avoiding Dad Rock

Ignoring The Stars

May 05, 2014 Metronomy Photography by Wendy Lynch Redfern Bookmark and Share

Joseph Mount, frontman of the English four-piece Metronomy, isn’t an Aquarius, despite what the title “I’m Aquarius,” the first single from his band’s fourth album, Love Letters, might imply.

“I don’t know anything about astrology,” Mount says sheepishly, adding that he’s actually a Virgo. “The idea [of the song] is that to connect things to the way the stars move is kind of ridiculous. I quite like how there’s an excuse happening, that you can blame your behavior on the way a planet is moving. It’s a really good excuse.”

While Mount may fancy finding a scapegoat, slacking on artistic responsibilities is another topic the musician knows very little about. Having initially sketched them out while on tour behind the Mercury Prize-

nominated third album The English Riviera, Mount brought the songs to bandmates Oscar Cash, Anna Prior, and Olugbenga Adelekan, who helped polish and record them. Despite a protracted gestation time, Love Letters was finished in a flurry of action in September of 2013, spurred on the approaching birth of his son Jacques and relocation to Paris’ Montmartre district.

He laughs at the implication that the off-kilter electronic rock album might be considered “dad rock.”

“I consciously ignored the child when I was writing it,” he says, not unkindly. “I think that’s the funny thing, when I started talking to people about what was happening when I started writing the album, some people were expecting it to be some kind of lovey-dovey, new father album.”

Smeared with spiky base lines, off-kilter synths, and a decided dance rock mentality, love (or more correctly, heartbreak) does play a large role in Metronomy’s newest release. But anything lovey-dovey is filtered through a cracked lens that includes skewed takes on trips to a make-out spot along the reservoir, lazy Sundays, and “The Most Immaculate Haircut.”

But, as Mount reveals, Love Letters’ effortless slink and sly humor came at a price. While it was organically conceived as a double album, it wasn’t until nearly the eleventh hour that Mount realized not all the material was worth releasing, and significantly cut down the number of songs for the final release.

“You know as soon as you’ve done something if you’re happy with it or not,” he says. “The only thing that changes is if you’re willing to let something slip through the net…. I think the last album and the one before that and the one before that, I think I knew at the time the songs that I wasn’t happy with. But I never forced myself to right the wrongs. Now I gain some perverse pleasure in doing that.”

Mount isn’t bashful in admitting that he hopes Love Letters will connect with a wider American audience, particularly after The English Riviera’s recognition in his home country.

“You see what English acts became really popular in America, and you begin to question the taste of Americans,” he says. “It’s curious, because you think, ‘How can this happen? How can Ed Sheeran, who is this lowest common dominator singer/songwriter, suddenly be doing things in America?’ Or like Mumford and Sons. It’s this strange disparity between what I imagine American music fans to be like and the reality of it.”

He pauses, admitting it’s a dangerous line of reasoning to engage in while speaking to an American publication.

“There’s always room to become more popular in America,” he concludes with a laugh. “I’m willing to wait for the wider American public to catch up.”

[Note: This article first appeared in Under the Radar’s February/March print issue (Issue 49).]


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December 28th 2020

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