Metronomy is back with another bright and understated record that is nothing like its predecessor. If you're looking for the follow up to the electro pop success of 2011's The English Riviera
you won't find it. Recorded at Toe Rag, an East London analogue studio favored by more musically likely acts such as The White Stripes, the new album has a distinctly retro edge that separates it from anything you might have expected. Love Letters
is a stripped down, finely tuned collection of songs that swim through the cannon of classic pop and arrive at a gorgeously bright, hauntingly catchy, meditation on love and distance.
Founding frontman Joseph Mount's casual falsetto drifts intently through the gently sustained synth bop of opening track "The Upsetter". The track opens the record into a place of restrained desperation, "I should have known from the call that you let out / You're not alone and you're still in love / But everyone says that I'm the upsetter / But I'm alone and I'm so in love / Oh I've got it bad." The subdued bop bends its way into the previewed single "I'm Aquarius", where all of the frustration and confusion of in-communication is compressed into the album's dance track high point escorted by the sunny 60s flavored supporting vocals of Anna Prior behind Mount's anxiously pessimistic lyrics, "I can love it or / I can leave it / You said honey I / Best be leaving / Cause you're a novice and / I'm a taurus and / I'm not gonna say / I'm not gonna do." Melancholy jazz horns burst into a radiant update of retro tunes like The Supremes' "Let the Sunshine" in the title track "Love Letters".
Read Our Interview with Metronomy's Joseph Mount
Over all, the record retains the at once intimate and aloof attitude, which now remains as the only constant in Metronomy's discography. Most of the record simmers purposefully, allowing the boiling points to be as big and larger than life as any crescendo from Bowie or Diana Ross. Mount's exquisite talent for crafting subtlety is clearly exposed in Love Letters'
juxtaposition of dreamy soundscapes with grounding instrumentals and thematically blue lyrics with rose tinted beats. What The English Riviera
boasted in a crisp, smooth cool; Love Letters
boasts in technical skill, fearlessness and refined recreation.
See the brilliant single shot video for "Love Letters" directed by Michel Gondry (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
is out now. Get your copy here