Sunday, October 5, 2008

Metronomy - Album Review

Metronomy – Nights Out (2008)
Because Music

It seems that every time critics declare that nu rave is well and truly dead an album pops up and redefines the genre. The first time this happened was in March, When Australian duo Cut/Copy actually improved on their generic debut and released a first class second album and now history is repeating itself a second time round with Metronomy’s sophomore release. Furthermore I really wasn’t expecting it, which made my love for this album heighten.
In 2006 Joseph Mount (aka Metronomy) released his debut Pip Paine. It was good, not great and I listened to it a few times and even danced to a couple of tracks but stupidly lumped with the nu rave movement and that’s it.
Now comes this!
First of all Mount expanded the band by adding two new recruits and secondly for the first time on a Metronomy album, there are vocals. However this is not the reason why I think Nights out is one hell of an album. It is because during the albums duration mount pulls off tons of little tricks which throw the listener off course.
The first prank starts the second you press play, Mount begins the album with mournful rubbery sounding horns and this doesn’t change for quite few minutes, until the horns start to disappear and keyboards and synths weave themselves in and then the instrumental just explodes into a flurry of harmonicas and ska-ish beat. It’s six minutes long and is stretched out over two tracks. It also displays Mount’s sense of humour for not only did ‘Nights Out’ start with one fake misleading introduction but is merged with another wayward one. Basically, dear listener, you have been tricked not once, but twice and it is a great stunt.
The album proper begins with single ‘Radio Ladio’ and this sets the tone for the rest of the record, loping basslines, stinky synthesizers and deadpan vocals, mind you on the surface this may seem simple but in reality Mount creates a very complex sound, infused with the melodies are dozens of instruments flitting through the mix, saxophones, trombones and even some strings in places. Like Simian Mobile Disco’s debut, ‘Nights Out’ is an album which can be enjoyed anywhere due to the diversity that is offered. Sure ‘Hearbreaker’ or ‘Holiday’ will work on a club night but even in the comfort of your living room sofa. Again Metronomy doesn’t make predictable music so ‘Nights Out’ is not something you easily absorb in a couple of spins yet it’s very easy to appreciate what is going on due to the fact that Metronomy will never shy away from a tune.
By the time the albums ends, The band throw the last curveball and that’s in the form of closing track ‘Nights’, which is performed entirely on an acoustic guitar, it’s the ultimate comedown to a record that’s mostly electronic and maybe it’s not the best track on this otherwise stunning album but it works and is very welcome.
‘Nights Out’ is quite a special album, for the past few years it seems that most British bands, especially the popular ones tend to be inconsistent album-wise and furthermore it’s very rare for an artist nowadays to follow up a good debut with an even better sophomore effort. Thankfully Metronomy have achieved both objectives and well. In the future ‘Nights Out’ will be looked very highly upon.

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