Metronomy’s third studio album, entitled, The English Rivera (April 2011), has solidified the bands powerful presence within the indie-electronic music scene. Hailing from Devonshire England, Metronomy combines melodic pop beats with a sweet sentimentality that has you moving on and off the dance floor.
The albums begins at a reasonably slow pace, the first three songs are harmoniously playful, showcasing the meticulously composed instrumentation of bassist Gbenga Adelekan and backing keyboardist, Oscar Cash. ‘Everything goes my way’ is a tender retreat to the bands softer side, and is the only song which features drummer Anna Prior on lead vocals. The song is cute and it’s nice to see Prior occupy the microphone and break out of her quiet onstage persona.
The album then shifts into a more electronically fused rhythm, infecting listeners with a cadenced sensation of catchy beats and enticing lead vocals. ‘The Look’ and ‘The Bay’ seamlessly integrate pop and electronic elements that are more accessible to wider audiences. ‘The Bay’’s steady intro suspends into a bouncy array of carefully arranged hooks which has you involuntarily clapping the soles of your feet. The band’s musical stylings are somewhat comparable to their retired American equivalent, LCD SoundSystem. Not only do both lead male vocalists bear a vague resemblance to one another, they have positively changed peoples’ perception of electronic music. It’s no longer considered a disposable genre, but one that is drenched with artistic merit and talent.
The band shallowly addresses topics such as love, loss and relationships; the listener eagerly waits for a more emotionally charged anthem that never materializes. The English Riviera is ultimately an attempt at recreating a new sound that departs significantly from their sophomore album entitled, Nights Out (2008). Nights Out was experimentation with pop-dance music, provoking listeners to groove to the dance-infused compositions instead of focusing on Joseph Mount’s lyrical brilliance.
Although The English Riviera lacks a cathartic tone, it does encourage listeners to dissect the ambiguity of Mount’s lyrics. ‘Corinne’ – among their more favourable tracks – is a descent into lyrical confusion and bewilderment. Mount sings, “I’ve got a pain in my heart / I think it’s because of you / Cause they kicked me out of the forces / When I’d lay a hand on you”. In the following verse, Mount distorts the meaning entirely, singing, “Oh Corinne / I’d take this pain in my heart / for just one night with you / If they’d let me back in the forces / And I could lay a hand on you”. It’s hard to decipher whether Mount is mourning the loss of a gun or a girl, but the song is undoubtedly a subtle exploration of darker subject material. The listener never gains any clarity throughout the course of the song and is left pondering its underlying meaning even after its departure.
The English Riviera is an artistic milestone in the bands progressing experimentation with style, composition and thematic subject matter. Overall it’s a fun and catchy album – out of ten, I’d give it a seven. For the future, I’d like to see Metronomy demonstrate a more intimate interaction with their listeners and perhaps delve deeper into the complexities of love and loss.