Metronomy: The English Riviera
Torbay, or the English Riviera, is Joseph Mount’s hometown and the inspiration for Metronomy’s follow up to 2008’s ‘Nights Out’. A change in line up and direction is apparent from the 30 second long string-led title track. Things have changed; if Nights Out depicted booze and drug fuelled debauchery, this is its tidy, focused, and gentle older brother.
Stand out track “The Look” opens with understated yet confident synth sheen, before a percussion accompaniment by ingenue Anna Prior. Similarly, single guitar strums and slap-bass bide their time in appearing, elevating the track, as well as illustrating the delicacy that Mount and co. have chosen for their new direction.
“Some Written” is the track most likely to alienate fans of Nights Out. Here Mount purposely explores what he calls “the studio mind set” of artists such as Steely Dan and Fleetwood Mac. A sublime jazz piano chord sequence makes way for heart-felt and genuine vocals “I tried to catch you up, but I’m too late”. Unexpectedly, but carefully, the song scuttles toward more dominant synths and ends as a totally different beast than how it started out, without ever developing too fast or too obviously.
It seems that what is being achieved here is more deliberate than Metronomy have ever done before. This is an album that seems to have been written with the studio in mind, rather than the dance floor. Self disciplined, yet never restrained, it feels cool, stylish and complete. Every layer has purpose and no track outstays its welcome or feels forced. The singing contextualises the lyrics, which all emit emotion and meaning, the pieces gel together immaculately from start to end.