Metronomy’s previously super successful album the The English Riviera captured the by-gone glamour of the seaside with wistful songs, yet their latest and fourth album Love Letters departs from the polished sounds of its predecessor and presents love in the off-season. The album has brought the band into a new form due to frontman Joe Mount’s sophisticated and witty song-writing which reads as an ode to broken relationships, confused lust, and love sickness.
The retro romanticism implied by “Love Letters”, a dying art form in our technology-obsessed society, is indicative of the album’s overall nostalgic feel as it harks back to the sounds of previous eras – songs reminiscent of the 1960s with girl-band backing vocals such as ‘Month of Sundays’ are complimented with the synth-sounds of the 1980s on ‘Monstrous’ and the more familiar Metronomy sounding ‘Reservoir.’
Singles ‘Love Letters’ and ‘I’m Aquarius’ are stunning examples of the band’s diverse sound, opposite in tone but equally brilliant tracks that display Metronomy’s talent to range from upbeat pop to disenchanted melodies.
The album is a noticeable departure from the sounds that made The English Riviera so successful with its upbeat playfulness. There is a certain mechanical feel to some of the new songs, the undercurrent of simplicity can come across as slightly hollow and under-produced at times. Perhaps you would be forgiven for finding the album somewhat meandering and underwhelming on the first listen, but the album’s subtleties become more rewarding with each play.
The band’s willingness to explore a sound so different to what guaranteed them success is applaudable, and this is what makes them so different and exciting from those bands that rely on familiar formulas to keep the fans happy.
Coming a long way from Mount’s bedroom, when Metronomy started off as a one-man-and-his-computer show, the songs that may sound lo-fi through your laptop speakers are sure to thrive when being played out to big crowds at this year’s summer festivals. Love Letters may not be the breezy vacation that The English Riviera was, but it’s certainly worth the trip.
Love Letters is out now on Because Music