Album Review Metronomy - The English Riviera

Mount’s finest work to date.

Joseph Mount, Metronomy’s talisman, recently described his band’s second album and ultimate breakthrough for the band, ‘Nights Out’, as “a mess”. In comparison to ‘The English Riviera’, this might be true. In between the two records, Mount has acquired new band mates, helping him to achieve an altogether tighter, more refined pop sound, developed in an album some might describe as a concept, with most agreeing on it being Mount’s finest work to date, regardless.

When judging ‘The English Riviera’, it’s best to start with the album’s centrepiece: ‘The Bay’. Planted inside the heart of the album, it captures Mount’s purpose in one; to convey the sound of a dance-inducing, retro-shades-sporting summer. There’s nothing quite as addictive as Mount’s listing of where ‘The English Riviera’ isn’t located; “’cos this isn’t Paris/ and this isn’t London/ and it’s not Berlin and it’s not Hong Kong/ Not Tokyo – if you want to go, I’ll take you back one day”. Where’s the relevance? Where’s the meaning? It matters not – that line is as infectious as it comes when accompanied by jolting synths and high-pitched harmonies.

It doesn’t stand a complete head and shoulders above the rest of the competition, however. Lead single ‘The Look’ is the most stylish offering of pop you’ll be exposed to all year, whilst Roxanne Clifford of Veronica Falls’ unconventional guest vocals win you over in ‘Everything Goes My Way’; as she struggles to deliver the line “when you pushed me aside, three weeks I cried…”, before innocently adding “And now everything goes my way […] love, I’m in love again”, hinting at another downfall. She’s the ideal contrast to Mount’s sharp, commanding voice - like the frontman, she’s a more human element to an otherwise alien, synth-led sound.

Despite the album’s ability to lure you in with a few demanding hooks, much of ‘The English Riviera’ maintains a subtle element to the band’s sound. Mount has spent much of his time in music as an underrated figure; a genuine innovator in disguise as someone less assured. ‘Loving Arm’, with its seeping, harsh synthetics, could get away with scrubbing off Mount’s vocals and replacing them with Karin Dreijer, musing upon “dishwashers” and “seashells”, and it’d he hailed as one of the songs of the year. Chances are, it’ll simply go down as another cog in this album’s wheel, but in actual fact it’s a very quietly-delivered, stunning song.

Progressive, ambitious closer ’Love Underlined’ affirms the fact that Mount has come along leaps and bounds since his last record. Like ‘Nights Out’, we feel hope that this will project an unsung songwriter into stardom, only this time around, we’re 99% more confident of it occurring. ‘The English Riviera’ will spread through word of mouth if it fails to crash into the charts first time round, soundtracking house parties and night-time walks, gradually establishing itself as a shoe-in for the Mercury Prize as well as the quintessential pop record of the summer.

 

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