So, after a month of for summer hi-jinx – getting married! moving house! raising kids! Listening to music! – we’re back, back, back!
So here’s the long-awaited new offering from a band that are very beloved of this parish. Off the back of a pretty sweltering run of belting singles leading up to the album, the question on everyone’s lips (well, mine anyway): have they finally made an album that can stand up to their masterpiece, THE ENGLISH RIVIERA.
But then it’s never easy with Metronomy, so even answering that question is quite tricky. Joe Mount is such a wilful bastard, and clearly likes doing whatever the fuck he wants, and never more than on this 17 track album that features 6 instrumentals. Chasing the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame is not top of Mount’s aims in life.
The answer is YES and NO at the same time, and because it’s Metronomy, I think you probably know what I mean. It is undeniably the band’s strongest offering in years, and thought Summer 08 had a couple of belting tunes on it, I personally don’t think they’ve made a properly cohesive album since Riviera. For the record, I thought Love Letters was a steaming pile of crap.
Forever has two very very big things going for it. Firstly, it has a really wonderful set of songs on it. From Lately to Salted Caramel Ice Cream to Insecurity to The Light to Sex Emoji (yes, even Sex Emoji), this is an album overflowing with funky, fresh ideas and the kind of Metronomy songs you long for – the kind you’d end up adding to a Best of Spotify compilation.
The second thing I love about this album is that it really does feel like a complete piece of work. Songs flow into each other, and even some of the instrumentals, which I initially found indulgent and overly-long, really start to come alive (a work trip with a lot of walking around London with my headphones changed my view on these). You can hear Morodor and early Daft Punk and even some kind of freak folk influences on some of these, and I think it’s quite brave of Mount to go for it, when you could have just have made a very tight 9 track belter.
However, let’s not kid ourselves. Any 17 track album has superfluous filler. Hell, even The White Album’s got Bungalow Bill and Wild Honey Pie. The second half of the album is perhaps lighter on the really strongest stuff, and it starts to sag a little. And there are moments when Mount’s use of repetition – which he uses SO cleverly in his songs – is just too self-indulged. Mount himself jokingly said the album was pretentious and too long when he was asked about it. Or maybe he wasn’t joking. Who knows?
So sure, in time I’ll probably flick past the odd track or two. And there are moments that are a lot less than necessary. But mostly, it feels vital and fresh and 20 times more interesting than anything most artists are doing, let alone after nearly two decades (yup!) of making music.
Metronomy Forever? You betcha.
6 thoughts on “SEPTEMBER: Metronomy Forever”
Many moons ago brother David brought me ‘The English Rivera’….. my mind was blown. To this day I still love that album. Every part of it. Following that up was a big task, and ‘Love Letters’ was a massive let down. My heart was broken. ‘Summer 08’ was pretty solid I must admit, but how do you return from that heart break? With that I approached this album with hesitation.
On first impressions I gotta say it’s too long. There are songs that need to go (they’re OK but not needed). If there is one constant theme we all re-visit is albums that have un-needed filler and this is one of them. I’m going to call shenanigans that you can skip the ones you don’t like… they should have just been skipped all in all.
Lets not focus on the negative. This is a great album. I’m getting my love back for Metronomy. I agree with David that this album is versatile and shows many influences through it that are also highlighted in the album notes.
It’s funky, the songs flow nicely and the lyrics are honest. I can picture David funkily dancing through the streets of London to ‘Salted Ice Cream’ ala the ‘Weapon of Choice’ video. ‘Lately’ is a great driving song. ‘The Light’ brings back to the Metronomy vibe that I fell in love with.
In a funny way this was a brave choice brother David, but it’s a winner…. though I will be skipping some of the songs.
Well. To hear a new Metronomy album is on the way is up there one notch below LCD, Hot Chip and Radiohead (so sue me). This is akin to a new Father John Misty, Shit Robot, Friendly Fires. See my artist rankings and weep.
Anyway, I’m going to start with a small huff. Yes, The English Riviera was an utter masterpiece for many reasons: its beautiful Englishness, its synths, its sense of late summer ennui, its hailing of Torbay. But also because *humblebrag warning* it inherently reminds me of my weekend in Monaco pretending I worked in motor racing. Also some wonderful memories of gigs at Sonar, Brixton and Glastonbury. A soft stop isn’t the half of it. But what’s that huff, you say? Well, I really liked Love Letters and Summer 08. They were flawed, yes. But still lovable. I will fight anyone that says they’re crap.
And here we are. I’ve listened to this 5 or 6 times and I feel the opposite. There are some blockbuster singles, and great tracks but this feels a bit disjointed. In the end, it runs out of steam somewhat. I want it to be brilliant so badly but I’m also aware it may take many more listens.
But…. its Metronomy so I also love it.
I love it. There’s a lot going on and it is, let’s face it, all over the shop. But I really like the shop. I like the instrumentals. Some of them feel a little self-indulgent but they work for me so am comfortable with them. The real test is that I listen to this on repeat, with no skipping tracks at all. Sometimes I don’t notice it’s gone round three times in a row. I don’t think this will top my ‘best’ albums of the year but it will come close to my ‘favourite’. Thanks David. I would not have this in my life if it were not for the blog.
PS – I love one of the tracks that I think you guys might be skipping – ‘Upset Girlfriend’. I know it’s silly but it makes me happy.
Upset Girlfriend is getting on my tits a bit. It really is quite silly. And it goes on a bit. But bless him for doing whatever the hell he felt like.
I still love this album. But you know that.