“What’s your zodiac sign?” “I’m Aquarius” were the 2 tweets that ended the long silence from Metronomy in autumn last year. Their fourth album ‘Love Letters’ hasn’t gone far from their previous material but they’ve evolved and delved deeper into creating distinct tracks that will soon become huge hits.
It’s all started off quite restrained with ‘The Upsetter’. Mount holds a strong feeling of emotion in his voice as he sounds almost breakable in this fragile opener. The majority is just the vocals accompanied with a low-key guitar but then later a chilled-out riff added on top brings the summer hits we were used in their last record ‘The English Riviera’. Following is the comparably loud-mouthed ‘I’m Aquarius’ which was the track that ended the 2 year long silence. The minimalistic beats and synths have returned and you may well be singing “shoop doop doop aahh” for a long while after listening to this one.
It’s like Joseph Mount has turned into a romantic poet. ‘Monstrous’ features a haunting harpsichord sounding keyboard riff and the reoccurring lovesick vocals. Things start off slow in ‘Love Letters’ but this is soon counteracted by Prior’s strenuously sung line of ‘love letters’ and a loop of what sounds like it would fit in with a sound of the 80s compilation CD. Next it gets slowed back down with ‘Month of Sundays’ which has kept Metronomy’s key traits present while keeping the fuss to a minimum.
Entering with a pulse and bizarre sounds, ‘Boy Racers’ has started something different on the record. Remember back to ‘Pip Paine (Pay the £5000 You Owe)’ and you’ll get what they’ve done. Hand claps and jazzy bass lines have taken over on this instrumental track. Next is where the lyrics become even more yearning for love. The melancholic voice of Mount in ‘Call Me’ sounds like a loss of hope but then the cries of ‘we can get better’ and ‘we can do anything’ push the album into the realms of the upbeat. ‘He’s got the most immaculate haircut but with the right dye and shampoo maybe I could do it too’ – you’d cringe if the accompanying instruments weren’t so serious and solemn. Once it gets going, ‘The Most Immaculate Haircut’ isn’t like what you’d expect from the opening lyric; passion and drive come through the vocals but is stopped in its flow by the monotonous melody traipsing behind.
Think back to ‘The English Riviera’ and the massive hit ‘The Look’. ‘Reservoir’ has followed the same principles but at the same time sounds like it would fit in perfectly with the backing music of Mario Karts as the synths have gone crazy (crazily good). If you’ve seen Metronomy live you’ll be aware of Oscar Cash’s tendency to dance along while playing – just wait for ‘Reservoir’ to be played live as it’ll be the track to be treated to his moves. Finishing it off with a brutally honest, stripped back track Metronomy have gone full out for this one. ‘Never Wanted’ screams rejection and grief from the title but the falsetto vocals feel ever so more fragile and like he’s given up. The only thing stopping Mount from being alone is the timid accompaniment of a guitar which continues with the tenuous mood created. Soon enough ‘but it gets better’ gets sung which adds an element of optimism and the introduction of synths and a stronger guitar force this idea, ending the album on the anticipation of resolution for next time.
The big question is whether ‘Love Letters’ will push Metronomy into the charts and lead them to those big festival slots. If things continue going how they did with the last album – remember those times where you couldn’t go somewhere without hearing ‘The Look’ played – then without a doubt we’ll be seeing a lot of them.