Review | Metronomy - Metronomy Forever
Metronomy take on us on an emotional rollercoaster as they explore the highs and lows of love.
English electronica band Metronomy just released their sixth studio album, Metronomy Forever, offering an eclectic palette of grungy guitar rock, unexpected hits and eerie synth episodes. As a follow-up from their 10th anniversary edition of Nights Out, Forever is also punctuated by purely-instrumental cuts such as "Insecure" and "Forever Is A Long Time". Long-time fans of the band are sure to be caught off guard by the structure on this seventeen-track masterpiece as we see catchy anthems sandwiched between ambient soundscapes.
Opening track "Wedding" starts with psychedelic wedding bells and organ-like synth chords, a theme which singer/producer Joseph Mount later returns to in the conclusive track "Wedding Bells" (“Yeah I hear wedding bells / But they’re not for you / They’re for your best friend / And my best friend”). But the album really kicks off with "Whitsand Bay", a South-East Cornwall coastal spot where he goes “to find some peace”. “And she keeps on touching me / And everyone looks at me / And everyone talks,” continue the lyrics, backed by a rocky bassline and distorted chords, before the track uncoils itself into a funky electronic moment. It’s a catchy track with a heavyweight '80s feel and is definitely worth a listen. Similar indie inflections can be overheard in "Insecurity", alongside Nirvana-style undertones.
The band's signature synth-pop and new-wave are the main components. Yet Metronomy show how far they are willing to push the boat out, genre-hopping every 30 seconds on each track. Then there are the mysterious soundscapes - "Insecurity", "Lying Low", "Driving", to name a few - which act as a mediator and serve as an interlude between the main tracks, the ones that will warrant repetitive listens in your playlist. "Walking in the Dark", meanwhile, is a light, funky number, likewise with "Lying Low", which gives off club vibes. "Miracle Rooftop" also falls under the same umbrella whilst closely resembling "Boy Racers" from Metronomy’s 2014 album Love Letters.
The album’s centrepiece is "Salted Caramel Ice Cream" - showcasing the Brighton band at their energetic, upbeat best. It could be a modern alternative to Lipps Inc’s "Funkytown", with a substantially similar synth sequence. It’s silly, playful and danceable, with mindless lyrics musing about his love. “She’s the squash in my water / She's so posh, mate, I called her ma’am”, gushes Mount. "Sex Emoji" is a similar number and worth a listen.
“What is love, what is hurt, what is she saying?”, ponders Mount in "Insecurity".“Just holler if you need me / ‘Cause I couldn’t stand the pain / Of seeing you hurt again, boy”, sings Mount about his post-breakup unrest in ‘Walking in the Dark’ before dwelling on the heartbreak stage in the emo-ballad "Upset My Girlfriend". "Lately" tells us of the unrequited love, “She could be the greatest / I know she’d be the greatest / If only she was open to see me”, before returning to an upbeat feel-good section. The ever-changing moods and genres of this album are Mount’s personal reflection of the highs and lows of love, love being the thematic thread that brings the lyrical tracks together, providing a much-needed sense of cohesiveness amidst the offbeat structure.
As the album closes with "Ur Mixtape", Metronomy have taken on us on an emotional rollercoaster, shifting between genres and extreme highs and lows alongside a breadth of musical diversity that showcases the English group at their best. Forever is an eclectic work with some of the most promising hits heard since the epicness of The English Riviera and Love Letters, but as the title assures us fans, there’s no sign of Metronomy going anywhere just yet.
Best song: Walking In The Dark
Worst song: Insecure