Summer 08 by Metronomy recalls a time when musical polymath and mop-haired dreamboat Joe Mount was out night after night constantly drinking and playing gigs in dives to promote his forthcoming second album Nights Out. Mount remembers the time as being “Quite Manic”. Rather than move on, after all he has since made two albums of beautiful indie-pop, he has decided to reminisce about that time on record.
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One of the most surprising musical developments over the last few years has been my new-found love of Metronomy. I’m pretty much aware that the superb 'Love Letters' is tangled up in glorious memories of decorating a house in Stoke on Trent but that’s what music does. Heading backwards into their discography I found that I also liked huge chunks of ‘The English Riviera’ but when I got back as far as ‘Nights Out’ I realised that I was in the wrong place entirely. Therefore I fear I’m not really going to like ‘Summer ’08’ which is apparently a kind of sequel to that album. Why Metronomy have chosen to head into their murky past so early in their career when they seemed to be on such a roll is anyones guess but those who has been hooked by the superb pop music of their last two albums could be equally turned off by this.
Lead tracks ‘Old Skool’ and ‘Back Together’ are both truly terrible, the first half of the latter is surely the worst thing committed to vinyl since the last time Hot Chip made a record. Horrible novelty bleep pop as lacking in personality as Joe Mount himself sometimes seems to, yet the final section is a great Daft Punk style disco workout which gives me hope that it might not be all bad. ‘Night Owl’ is one of the few tracks that sounds like ‘The English Riviera’ with its funky guitars and tight, clipped production and 'Miami Logic' shows that Mount has probably been listening to loads of David Bowie of late and copying his burping vocals and eighties synths. On previous albums Mount has used vocals to good effect but Robyn is too much of a singer to bring much personality to ‘Hang Me Out to Dry’, Mount is better working with non singers but its a nice track with much needed melancholy amongst the brash cynicism elsewhere. Elsewhere there's some promising pop songs that (with the excellent 'Love's Not an Obstacle aside) pretty much eschew the guitars Mount successfully brought into play on his recent work and instead concentrates on slap bass, belching synths and LCD Soundsystem art rock.
Dig deep and it's not the horror show the early leaked tracks suggested but still Mount has made a rather cold uninviting album after the lovely and charming 'Love Letters'. Still, its concept suggest that if I just wait another 8 years we might get ‘Love Letters 2’. It will probably please fans of their early records but my love affair with them is on hold for the moment.
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