Led by multi-instrumentalist and producer Joseph Mount, Metronomy grew from a scrappy, lo-fi side project into one of the more creative acts mixing rock and electronic music. Drawing on influences ranging from Devo and David Bowie to N.E.R.D. and Pavement, Mount established Metronomy as an equally catchy and off-kilter act with 2006's Pip Paine (Pay the £5000 You Owe). The project's later albums, such as 2011's Mercury Prize-nominated The English Riviera, were smoother and more sophisticated, but still incorporated unexpected elements that ranged from the Motown and blue-eyed soul homages of 2014's Love Letters to the retro-futurism of 2019's Metronomy Forever. Named after the musical term for the measurement of time by an instrument, Mount started Metronomy in 1999 as a side project to the other bands he played with, using an old computer that his father gave him to record songs. Metronomy's first full-band lineup also included keyboardist/saxophonist Oscar Cash and keyboardist/bassist Gabriel Stebbing. Prior to Metronomy, Mount and Stebbing played together in bands such as the Upsides, a pop group the pair described as "the original Busted," and the Customers, with whom they played in university. When his cousin Cash joined Metronomy, it became the trio's main project. The band earned buzz for their engaging live shows as well as official and unofficial remixes of tracks by Gorillaz, Architecture in Helsinki, Sebastien Tellier, Kate Nash, U2, and Britney Spears. After a DJ gig in Brighton, Mount connected with the founder of Holiphonic Records, which released Metronomy's debut single, "You Could Easily Have Me," in late 2005 and the full-length Pip Paine (Pay the £5000 You Owe) in June 2006. That year, Metronomy signed to Because Music; in 2007, the single Radio Ladio became their first and only release on its Need Now Future imprint. The label also issued 2008's Nights Out, which introduced their eclectic sound to a wider audience thanks to singles such as Heartbreaker and My Heart Rate Rapid. In 2009, Stebbing left Metronomy to focus on his other project, Your Twenties. Bassist Gbenga Adelekan and former Lightspeed Champion drummer Anna Prior joined the fold for 2011's The English Riviera, which boasted a sleeker sound than the band's previous work. It was a commercial and critical success, reaching number 28 on the U.K. charts, selling more than 60,000 copies, and earning them a Mercury Prize nomination. Mount and crew went in a very different direction for Metronomy's fourth album, Love Letters. Taking inspiration from acts such as the Supremes, the Zombies, and Sly & the Family Stone, the band recorded at Toe Rag, an all-analog London studio frequented by indie rock bands such as the White Stripes and the Cribs. The singles I'm Aquarius and Love Letters -- which boasted a video directed by Michel Gondry -- signaled the album's mix of vintage warmth and cutting-edge pop ahead of its March 2014 release. The album peaked at number seven on the U.K. albums chart, their highest position yet. For Metronomy's next album, Mount changed course again, booking a studio just outside Paris and writing and recording a set of songs by himself within two weeks. The funky Summer 08, which reflected on the exuberance of the Nights Out era and featured collaborations with Mix Master Mike, Erol Alkan, and Robyn, arrived in July 2016. Mount then worked with Robyn on her acclaimed 2018 album Honey, co-writing and producing several of its songs. Following Mount's move from Paris to the English countryside, Metronomy returned in September 2019 with Metronomy Forever, one of the band's most eclectic albums yet.
© Heather Phares /TiVo
© Heather Phares /TiVo
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Electronic - Released April 11, 2011 | Because Music Ltd.
Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - Sélection Les Inrocks - 4 étoiles Technikart - Sélection du Mercury Prize
Previously a nu-rave trio in the mould of Klaxons, Metronomy, the brainchild of Joseph Mount, have changed tack for their third studio album, The English Riviera, following the departure of original member Gabriel Stebbing three years earlier. Having permanently recruited the talents of bassist Gbenga Adelekan and former Lightspeed Champion drummer Anna Prior, the follow-up to 2008's Nights Out, abandons their indie-disco sensibilities in favor of a more laid-back but equally idiosyncratic, sun-kissed sound which positions them as avant-garde purveyors in the vein of Saint Etienne rather than debauched glowstick wavers. But while its opening number, a 37-second snatch of cowing seagulls and distant waves lapping against the shore, may evoke the glamorous beaches of California, its remaining self-produced ten tracks are very much a love letter to both Mount's hometown of Totnes in Devon, and a romantic fantasy of the title's seaside resort he used to drive around in, blasting Ace of Base as a youth. While thankfully there aren't any attempts at European faux-reggae, there are nods to the rich and warm West Coast sounds of '70s Fleetwood Mac and the Eagles on the swaying, country-tinged "Trouble" and the ominous, fretless, bass-led "She Wants." But ultimately, as the title implies, the band's third album is unmistakably an English affair, and none more so than "Some Written," which kicks off with a shuffling end-of-the-pier waltz rhythm and the kind of old-fashioned Wurlitzer last heard in wartime ballrooms, before ending in a cavalcade of stylophones, cymbals, and even kazoos that sounds like a particularly clumsy one-man-band falling down the stairs. It's utterly bonkers, but fits right in when placed among the likes of "The Look," which borrows the hook from Perez Prado's "Guaglione" and fuses it with summery Beach Boys harmonies and archaic video game style synths, the lolloping Serge Gainsbourg-esque jazz-rock, and psychedelic guitar solos of "We Broke Free" and "Everything Goes My Way," a gorgeous '60s-inspired slice of cooing lounge-funk featuring the deadpan vocals of Veronica Falls' Roxanne Clifford. The band occasionally revert back to their more familiar electronic roots, such as on the ambient, Orbital-esque "Loving Arm," and the woozy synth wizardry of closing number "Love Underlined," but as sonically interesting as they are, they feel like slightly jarring interruptions to the album's underlying vaudeville nature. Relentless in its pursuit to soundtrack the uniqueness of the British summer, The English Riviera is a challenging but ultimately rewarding effort which cements Mount's reputation as one of Britain's most intriguing pop mavericks. © Jon O'Brien /TiVo