“The English Riviera” – Metronomy

It’s been a few years now but there was a time when, in order to let people know that something got a tick of approval, the word ‘cool’ was tossed around. Predominantly used in primary I haven’t felt the need to bring it back into my vocabulary very often, but occasionally something will come along that triggers the urge. And now, listening to the new LP from Metronomy that familiar tingle is brought back.

There’s something about the stripped back feel of The English Riviera, the latest effort from the British electro pop act, that’s reminiscent of the same sound that made The Whitest Boy Alive such a joy to listen to. Where their first release Nights Out was mostly compiled of songs that you can flail about wildly to this album is all about maintaining a vibe that never fully extends above a head bob. But this is in no way a bad thing. Where their first effort was out in front wearing loud t-shirts and yelling in everyone’s face about how fresh their dance moves were this album is at the back leaning against the wall in an understated velvet jacket, saying nothing through plumes of cigarette smoke and mouthfuls of cognac. Yes, this album is super cheesy, but also one of coolest releases 2011 has had to offer so far.
The first single ‘The Look’ can probably take a back seat here because the moments where this album truly shines are the moments that may be glossed over on first listen. The album kicker ‘We Broke Free’ trails ahead of the rest of the album with a stripped back bass groove and muffled synth and ‘The Bay’ sounds like a soundtrack from an 80’s prom movie with eminently karaoke-able lyrics and thick disco bass. The album may be over-produced and incredibly calculated, but it really does feel like the older brother to Nights Out, more sure of itself and not awkwardly fumbling with his words.
Metronomy are obviously still finding the sound they’re looking for on this release and although it doesn’t quite seem like they’ve found it yet they pull off their follow up album with such poise and charm that it’s hard not to fall in love with.

– Jonty Thompson