With the re-release of their debut Pip Paine (Pay the £5000 You Owe) in 2009, fans saw a healthy supply of Metronomy being gently fed into their ears between 2008 to 2011. Sitting either side of the re-release, Metronomy firstly issued their 2008 follow-up Nights Out and then 2011’s The English Riviera. They are now back with their fourth studio album, Love Letters.
The album opens with ‘The Upsetter’, a sombre synth progression that works in an acoustic guitar, frontman Joe Mount begins to serenade us. If the album title didn’t already give it away, Mount is in love, in pain and prefers to pronounce his feelings with parchment and pen. It makes for all kinds of wonderful. Soon after, we are eased in to ‘I’m Aquarius’, which feels like a mix of Thundercat and Outkast. The use of soul-inspired backing vocals compliments Metronomy’s laid back and electronic sound. From this early stage, it is clear that although each album is different (the raw debut, the catchy follow-up, the one where they found their sound), they still maintain Metronomy’s identity. With Love Letters, Mount has crafted what feels like a broken-hearted Sega filled with a cartridge made of LSD. But it is still undeniably Metronomy.
Following on, the record’s title track gently steps forward with a selection of horns until we’re met by a barrage of piano, synths and more 60s soul backing vocals. While David Bowie would be proud of this,it is the next track, ‘Month of Sundays’, that wins the soul award. What begins as a very typical Metronomy track slips into a psychedelic wormhole and closes with similarity to The Rolling Stones’ ‘Gimme Shelter’. This is the album’s difference, while still maintaining that Metronomy identity. This is Metronomy with soul. Everything from the title to the psychedelic album art is influenced.
However, one thing that doesn’t change about Metronomy is the producer. Mount has produced all four studio albums and it’s quite possible that’s because he believes in the words of Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas‘ Raoul Duke: “If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right!” Mount is making music on his own terms while willing to experiment. The best example of this is ‘The Most Immaculate Haircut’, which after the usual melancholy guitar and 8-bit solo, takes a break mid-song and fades in to the sound of someone jumping in to a lake in Finland (at least in my head). It is this ability of Mount’s to experiment with the band, without comprising their sound that makes Love Letters a familiar, yet new and noteworthy addition to their catalogue.
Love Letters is available now through iTunes.