Album review: Metronomy – Metronomy Forever

Album cover for Metronomy Forever.

Album cover for Metronomy Forever. - Credit: Archant

Three years on from Summer 08, Joseph Mount strives for truly timeless tunes.

When band leader Joseph Mount brings up the idea of Metronomy having a legacy, and what their fame means as they prepare to release their sixth album - beyond a very cool way to put food on the table - it doesn't jar like it might with other bands of similar vintage.

They've carved a rather substantial niche with their singles as consummate experts in off-kilter British dance-pop, melding funky basslines, club vibes and chart-friendly melodies, while their LPs are not afraid to explore electronica's more atmospheric side.

It might be called Metronomy Forever, but Mount comes across as ambivalent and philosophical, musing that "the less importance you place in any art the more interesting it can become in a way".

In that vein, it's worth noting the album offers 17 tracks, stemming from a desire to give the hits some breathing space - a novel approach to the concept album, perhaps.

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In practice, it means tracks like Walking In The Dark and Miracle Rooftop are foetal-stage songs that don't withstand repeated listens - better considered as interludes or transitions between the stuff you're actually gonna add to your playlist.

That said, the craft of songs like luminous lead single Lately, which skips around on bright keys and an earworm chorus, and Insecurity, with its rubbery, outsider-pop bounce and woozy synths, is evident.

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There's breadth here, too: Lying Low is an unassuming but accomplished pre-dawn club banger, the latter part blooming with synths that sparkle like moonlight on a stream, while lonely acoustic guitar and Mount's flat vocal are the backdrop for the down-in-the-dumps Upset My Girlfriend, the navel gazing leavened only with minimal but gently glistening synth backing.

There's personal discomfort and unrest evident in Whitsand Bay, set to lean, supple bass and shrill, clipped hi-hat, and acceptance and hope in the post-break-up electro-miasma of The Light.

Fans of his shrill singing will find solace and modern-day meaninglessness in Sex Emoji, and while recent single Salted Caramel Ice Cream is great, it could charitably be called an homage to Lipps Inc's seminal Funkytown, with a strikingly familiar synth motif and backing beat. (The accompanying video is worth checking out, as Mount directs an homage to Rammstein's Sonne that also rails against the "gentrification of ice cream parlours". Deep stuff.)

Plenty to feed dancing feet and musing mind.

3/5 stars.

Metronomy play at The Roundhouse in Chalk Farm on November 8.

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