Metronomy - Love Letters

by D R Pautsch Rating:6 Release Date:2014-03-10

Four albums in and Metronomy are at a crossroads. Their third album, The English Riviera, was Mercury nominated and gained critical acclaim. It ended up on end-of-year best-of lists and has seen them come to the cusp of the mainstream. The follow-up has a lot to live up to and the path they take from here will be interesting as Love Letters isn't as good as Riviera. Indeed, on first listen it really underwhelms.

The sound hasn't changed much, except for a nod to the 60s at times on songs like 'Month of Sundays', a track which probably exemplifies this album. It's a slow-burner which leaves you a little cold at first but will have you humming its chorus ("Never in a month of Sundays") after you have switched off. 

'Monstrous' takes the Medieval dance music approach and really doesn't work. It tries to be clever and comes off as annoying. 'Boy Racers' sounds like a rejected theme tune for an 80s science show. 'Call Me' just sounds too plaintive, even for Metronomy. 'The Most Immaculate Haircut' is laboured and even breaks midway for sound effects, including someone diving into a swimming pool. 

It's frustrating that these songs, which feel like mis-steps, are alongside some absolutely brilliant numbers. 'I'm Aquarius' is memorable, catchy and wonderful. The title track builds slowly through a brass intro into one of the most memorable things Metronomy have ever recorded. It's a 60s stomp which reeks of psych and works its magic when really it shouldn't.

If I were to give this review a title it would be the 'The Dichotomy of Metronomy'. They have delivered their weakest album to date but probably some of their best tunes. It shouldn't succeed. But it just might.

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