Metronomy – Small World

A charming return from Joe Mount & Co...

Metronomy’s artful, exceedingly English alt-pop template has weathered time and tide. Reaching full steam ahead with 2008’s ‘Nights Out’ and sublime 2011 LP ‘The English Riviera’, Joe Mount & Co. match coy, tongue-in-cheek observational skills with the kind of emotive, bittersweet musicality few can rival. ‘Small World’ sits in this lineage, a pleasing work of subtle evolution that taps into the group’s core values while teasing out fresh ideas.

Opener ‘Life And Death’ revels in small moments, the careful tick-tock of its digital pulse recalling Metronomy’s earliest, home-made releases. A neat, heart-worn introduction, the intensity of its lyric – “Oh my God, it’s life and death” – is set against the gentleness of the arrangement, which feels like a warm welcome from an old friend.

Yet the slomo pacing of the introduction quickly gives way to some of Metronomy’s shrewdest pop moments. ‘Things Will Be Fine’ is a glorious ear-worm melody, with the shimmering production having a slight Millennial feel that puts us in mind of Saint Etienne’s spacious last album. ‘It’s Good To Be Back’ finds Metronomy revelling in bleepy rave abandon, a song practically tailor-made for festival season.

Aspects of introversion are never behind, however. ‘Loneliness On The Run’ pulls at the heartstrings, while ‘Hold Me Tonight’ blends chorus-saturated guitars alongside a duet between Joe Mount and Porridge Radio’s Dana Margolin. The two acts sit in different spheres, yet this works incredibly well – touching, ebullient, and utterly sincere, it’s a highlight not only of the album but of Metronomy’s catalogue as a whole.

Drawing to a close with the aptly titled ‘I Have Seen Enough’, ‘Small World’ never knowingly overruns. A mere nine tracks, it packs in some of the group’s most overtly pop moments for some time – the sparkling ‘Love Factory’ for instance – while also deepening the emotional well of their songwriting. Refining their palette as they go, Metronomy are ready to prove their pop treasure status all over again.

8/10

Words: Robin Murray

– – –

– – –

-
Join the Clash mailing list for up to the minute music, fashion and film news.