fri 25/09/2020

CD: Metronomy - The English Riviera | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Metronomy - The English Riviera

CD: Metronomy - The English Riviera

Erstwhile electronica outfit's uplifting take on Devon romances

For weeks there have been rumours that the new Metronomy release would be electronica that would appeal to people who don’t really listen to it. The last bit, at least, is true. I don’t listen to much of that genre and yet every time I get to the end of The English Riviera I can’t resist hitting repeat. But here’s the thing - it’s not really that electronic. It’s what Metronomy man main, Joseph Mount, describes as “electronic music played using as many real instruments as possible”. And what that adds up to is a glorious mix of lo-fi, indie, pop and dance, with a fair few synths thrown in. And a whole lot of summer.

Named after the Devon coastline from which they hail, Metronomy’s third album mixes an elusive sound – although you may be reminded of Stereolab, Hot Chip and Zero 7 – with a real sense of location. Whereas Muse responded to growing up in the South West by taking their lyrics as far as possible into the realms of space and fantasy, Mount and Anna Prior sound like they really are singing about the lives and loves of Devon in the holiday season.

After a very pretty, but very short, chill-out intro, you can divide the record in two. The first half sounds lo-fi and has a whiff of sea breeze about it. The second half has a more synth palette, along with various sounds from games and arcades. It contains both songs that have something of the nightclub about them and others that are really just pop songs. “We Broke Free” is beautiful and mournful and feels like the end of summer. The reconciliation song “Everything Goes my Way” is mutedly uplifting. “The Bay” sounds more like the dance band of old, and “Corinne”, with its classic boy-meets-girl line “Corinne, I’ve got a pain in my heart/ I think it’s because of you”, is the sort of love song Stephin Merritt, of The Magnetic Fields, might have made.

What Mount has come up with here is an achingly hip record, accessible to anyone, about romances in Totnes. And that goes well beyond the hype and speculation.

Metronomy perform their new single "The Look"

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