From the opening bars, one can tell that this offering from Metronomy is really quite singular. I have admired this British band for some time but hitherto only knew about their singles. Delving into their albums was nothing short of sheer joy. Matthew insists Summer 08 is their best. Indeed they released their latest, Metronomy Forever, this month. We eagerly awaited being able to listen to it but were disappointed overall. In a way it is a relief to hear comparatively less impressive music as it puts our most loved albums into perspective.
Anyway, on with the review. The eponymous track and We Broke Free, which follows it, can only be described as introductory. With few lyrics, the idiosyncratic rhythm which underpins all MEtronomy songs is still present. But these opening tracks set the tone for the rest of the album. The luscious We Broke Free follows giving us an isight into what Pitchfork describes as “low slung 70s studio rock”.
The group began in 2006 as glitchy electronic smirkers, proffering a garishly irreverent take on chinstroking IDM. Yet for their third full-length effort, The English Riviera, they’ve fully transitioned into a sleek, urbane pop-rock outfit, taking polished cues from the well-heeled likes of Steely Dan and Phoenix. Pitchfork
The Look is perhaps one of the band’s most known songs and with good reason. The track is beautifully polished. She Wants is reminiscent to me of Gary Numan circa The Fury/Telekon. The delicious underpinning synth gliding melody lends itself very nicely to the ear, and the Bass guitar is not to be underestimated. Though I must say Trouble is one of my favourites on the album. This is one of the tracks on the album which really involve the listener. It makes you sit up and listen, invites you to come with Metronomy along the soundscape they have created. Arguably, this makes it a quasi-masterpiece.
…vigorously scrubbed, songs like “Everything Goes My Way”, “The Look”, and “The Bay” reflect dance and indie sensibilities, aligning those efforts more closely with the likes of Phoenix, Hot Chip, Junior Boys, and Stars. Pitchfork
I only hesitate to call Trouble a masterpiece because The Bay follows it directly. This is the most known track by the band I should think, again, not without good reason. The Bay captures and entrhalls you from the opening bars. The bass made me get goosebumps and then… wait and see for yourselves if you haven’t already. This is one of the outstanding tracks from the album.
Loving Arms didn’t rub off on me as effectively as Metronomy would have liked. Pitchfork call it polished but I find it monotonous compared to the other tracks. Corrine is the last energetic offering on the album before the denouement begins. Some Written is more laid back than the rest before the ethereal finisher, Love Underlined. There is a tiny sample of Grace Jones (From Nightclubbing) in this track. See if you can spot it.
The English Riviera is an album about returning and starting again. The Look, lead single and first breakout hit for the band, begins with the lines “You’re up and you’ll get down/ You’re never running from this town”, a warning apparently straight from the school of small-town heartbreak. But it ends on a different note: “This town is the oldest friend of mine.” Maybe escaping home isn’t the point. It’s about returning home, returning to a lover perhaps, and seeing things afresh. The Guardian
Overall, I would say this album is a win for me. Metronomy found its voice in this 2011 work and I am privileged to be able to hear music of this quality. I really hope you enjoy it as much as I have.