Album Review: Metronomy – The English Riviera

By on Tuesday, 12th April 2011 at 2:00 pm

Unless you haven’t opened your curtains in the past week, you must surely be aware of the heat wave currently hitting the country. Parks across the UK are full of people sunbathing, picnicking and forgetting all the horrible cold weather of the past 3 months. But with summer weather comes summer music. Everyone has their summer albums, songs that make the sun seem brighter, the temperature seem hotter and your ice cream taste better. So get ready to add another sunshine album to your collection with Metronomy‘s ‘The English Riviera’.

The aptly-named album is designed for those of us who aren’t going abroad this year, but instead who are going to lay on a towel in the garden, lapping up the rays. It fades in with a sound clip of noises from the beach and birds cheeping, before fading out just as quickly into ‘We Broke Free’. Setting the tone for the rest of the album, Metronomy stick to a minimal and simple structure, but all the while keeping the sound big and interesting.

The whole album is full of various nuances and intricacies to keep you interested. Whether it’s the pop-laden synth, the groovy basslines or the incredible vocal range of Joseph Mount, the hooks come in thick and fast. Tracks such as ‘Trouble’ and ‘The Bay’ are quite experimental and at times reminiscent of Pink Floyd in their spacey eerie sound. ‘Trouble’ is definitely one to stick on the stereo in your garden, starting small but gradually expanding into something much more profound and colossal.

Metronomy seem to have done away with their original work in ‘Pip Paine (Pay The £5000 You Owe)’ and have become a fast rising force in the world of indie-electro. Despite their older tracks such as ‘Black Eye/Burnt Thumb’ (a great instrumental to dance to), ‘The English Riviera’ is more like Everything Everything and Delphic. However, Metronomy don’t build songs around vocals, like so many other bands. Instead, the voice is just another instrument. This allows songs to not fit a rigid structure and the band can be much more creative in their music, giving you something different each time you spin the record.

‘The English Riviera’ might not be full of singles, but it’s meant to be listened to as a whole. Comparable to a concept album, the LP is designed with the UK summertime in mind. Mixing styles of synth-pop, electro and even calypso, there’s something about this album that sucks you in. So put it in your stereo and go play frisbee in the park, it’s either that or ‘Walking On Sunshine’ repeated until death.


‘The English Riviera’ by Metronomy is available now from Because. The band is on tour in the UK this month and have announced another tour for September.

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One Response

1:47 pm
13th April 2011

It might be noted that this review lacks any indication of what the album actually sounds like. I would defy anyone to read “Mixing styles of synth-pop, electro and even calypso”, and actually know what the hell is going on on this album. Metronomy are notoriously difficult to pin down, but a little effort could have carried the detail a lot further.

Secondly, it was unusual to skip over second album ‘Nights Out’ when discussing their earlier work. Referencing ‘Pip Paine…’, an entirely instrumental album of little popular recognition, seems unusual, considering the indie-chart success (and vocals) that characterised ‘Nights Out’, released three years later. It could at least have been noted that the bands make-up (of bands members) has changed significantly since their debut, and that the volume and sophistication of their vocal harmony’s have increased over time.

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