You can’t beat wackiness, especially in music. Metronomy, thus far in their career are no exception. What with working Nicola Roberts of Girls Aloud for her debut album and the rather odd titles given to his bands bodies of work – Pip Paine (Pay the £5000 You Owe). Joespeh Mount has established himself to be a very much an off-centre sort of character. The dance-indie hybrid has been doing the rounds for a while now. Battles, Friendly Fires, Klaxons and Delphic are all however equally good, don’t come without their quirks. Staccato riffs mixed with synths and falsetto synths make for an original and intriguing initial listen.
It seemed apparent by the time they released ‘Nights Out’ (2008) that these random styles tended to get in the way of the band’s potential progression and development in their songwriting. The wackiness is noteworthy here, as it’s seems almost non-existent; out goes wackiness in favour of a more bold theme and concept which is seaside towns (James Mount is from Totnes in Devon, which is hardly coincidental) and a love of nostalgia.
Seagulls calls with violins playing over instantly pulls us in and sets the scene for an endearing and somewhat twee listen. “We Broke Free” features a meandering bassline that contrasts perfectly with Mount’s high-pitched vocals, “Everything Goes My Way” has a handclap driven groove showcasing the duets of drummer Anna Prior and Mount. “The Look”, however, is a definite stand-out track, about growing up in smalltown England – bittersweet nostalgia as its finest. When the 80s synths punches in, it just reaffirms the forgotten days of innocence in our backyard with blues skies, baking sun and birds tweeting in the distance; all of which drive home the ups and downs when taking a trip down memory lane.
Where The Libertines’ romantic view of England was groggy, hazy, gritty and bare to the bone rock ‘n; roll, Metronomy’s England seems deep rooted in old-fashioned summer holidays of the past, like a photograph bathed in sepia. Up against their earlier work it certainly is strides ahead and the album as such is major progression for the band. What can sometimes hold the album back from true greatness are his lyrics which can be hardly be described as inspirational or indeed exciting. Seems like he has going to Noel Gallagher for tips (“Champagne Supernova” anyone?) .
But on the whole creating a new sonic identity, especially whilst reshuffling members doesn’t necessarily work for every band but it seems that with Metronomy they have succeeded in mastering a new sound whilst attracting new audiences and keeping their old fans still intrigued.