Album Review

The English Riviera

The English Riviera

by Metronomy

Becuase Music / Warner
6 / 10
4th April 2011

Reviewed by Steve Newell

The last album by Metronomy, Nights Out, deservedly got them plenty of attention with it's collection of danceable pop ditties that could comfortably trend towards the introspective while still seeming like a party. Party band was an apt way to describe Metronomy shows a couple years back too, but in the process of touring Nights Out and beginning to look beyond it they underwent a transformation into, gasp, an actual proper band with a capital B. Don’t fret, Metronomy is still a vehicle for Joseph Mount’s songs, but in rising to the challenge presented by their critical and crowd reactions there have been shifts of the subtle and not-so-subtle kinds.

This record’s been made in a proper studio for starters and takes advantage of the opportunities that involves, making a play for a deeper and more layered listening experience than Nights Out. Sonically it’s different from the borderline bedroom production that won them their fans, but there are no huge departures likely to scare anyone off in this department. Being able to pay more attention to detail in the recording process does show up some aspects of the record though and since I heard The Look accurately described as a school music teacher laying down some jams on his new keyboard I haven’t been able to get that image out of my head – but they’re well-recorded jams laid down in what my imagination tells me looks like York St Studios rather than a music room. But this now-shared mental image isn’t representative of the record, about which you can bandy around words such as “growth” “progression” and “mature” but really that’s shorthand for not as fun or immediate, something borne out by the fact the first two singles have been a bit ave.

What I’m driving at is that The English Riviera shows up a couple of weaknesses here and there when compared to Nights Out. Nothing critical, and the hooks and clever lyrical wordplay that clearly should be Metronomy trademarks aren’t exactly missing in action. It’s just that with this more nuanced release a couple of years after the initial excitement about the band there’s not quite the same sense of energy or discovery. Which is fine, it’s just not awesome, and as with Nights Out there’s still the possibility of the record revealing itself a bit more over time to be something really good. But for now we’ll just have to settle for OK.

Total: 2
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but those naff sounding riffs in The Look are supposed to be a bit ironic and sound like an end of the pier organ being played in a faded english seaside town which is what the title "English Riviera" suggest. Metronomy do have a sense of humour and of irony. x
Posted by emma brook - anonymous 5 years ago

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I think the album starts off strong, but deteriorates after The Look. Songs just become endless repetitions of mediocre riffs
Posted by bob - anonymous 5 years ago

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