Metronomy – The English Riviera

written by: April 13, 2011
Release Date: April 11, 2011


Metronomy took the time to record their latest album the more traditional way—in a recording studio instead of a bedroom. They include synthesizers and drum machines, and capture a sound similar to Herbie Hancock and Stevie Wonder, who are driving forces behind The English Riviera. Though electronic contraptions may be the backbone of the album, Joseph Mount partners with companions Anna Prior on drums, Gbenga Adelekan on bass and original Metronomy member Oscar Cash on keyboard and saxophone. In joining forces, their combined powers have created a more organic sound.

Riviera is a fully produced follow-up to the highly revered Nights Out, released in 2008. Mount brought the idea that fans who listened to Metronomy’s last album would be just starting college and might like a follow-up that could take them along their first journey through the halls of higher education.

There is a handful of love songs included on the record with a synth-heavy sound. “Corinne” blasts a “Space Invaders” sound to back an abusive spouse’s apology.  “Love Underlined” creates an Arabian air coupled with power-pop electro beats.  On the other hand, “Loving Arm” is a simpler love song dripping with heavier beats right from the start. It’s an out-of-this-world yet shallow song hammering simple rhythms. “Trouble” is a bass-driven lover’s lament with Mount crooning over a twinkling guitar. Throw in a Frampton-like talking guitar and the hearts of any college freshman girl will start to melt.

There is no shortage of groovy, slower tempo songs on the album either.  Following the creation of a living sound on top of the synths and drums, Mount layers echoing lyrics throughout.

He uses his singing as glue that holds songs like “The Look” and “She Wants”—their first single from the album—together while Adelekan brings in his bass to seal the deal. These two ditties stray from more frantic music and have a slower pulse, baby-making appeal to them.

The album’s namesake is only 37 seconds long but boasts violin accompaniment complete with seagulls and waves crashing in the background. This rolls into “We Broke Free,” continuing the gulls’ call and waves’ crashing as a smooth bass grinds alongside dreamy keyboards.

From end to end, Metronomy takes its Brit-pop four-piece and couples it with all the electronic panache one could ever need. They wrap it neatly in an album cover befitting their name, taking a picture from an English Riviera tourist board poster designed by the late John Gorham at the behest of his wife. The picture, songs and idea behind the album are all apt to lead to an excellent third full-length. It fits well at university where the premise can be summed up in seeing plumes of smoke floating above all the cool stoner kids’ heads on the first trip to a house party. It’s a down-tempo walk through early adulthood showing a glimpse of what people will be bumping uglies to in the future.

Metronomy – The English Riviera Tracklist:

  1. “The English Riviera”
  2. “We Broke Free”
  3. “Everything Goes My Way”
  4. “The Look”
  5. “She Wants”
  6. “Trouble”
  7. “The Bay”
  8. “Loving Arm”
  9. “Corinne”
  10. “Some Written”
  11. “Love Underlined”
  12. “The Look (King Krule Remix)”