WHEN people talk about great album streaks, British Synth-pop outfit Metronomy are often unfairly overlooked. From the clunky-instrumental Pip Paine (Pay Back The £5000 You Owe) to 2014’s melancholy funk drenched Love Letters, every album Joe Mount and co have produced has been, quite frankly, brilliant.
And it’s with a sigh of relief that Summer 08 continues this trend. It’s an album that, as the title suggests, takes a step back in time, acting as a sequel to 2008’s Nights Out (which if you haven’t listened to, you should, it’s bloody great). As a result, Summer 08 sounds like MySpace, Skins and a time before Lady Gaga; it’s an album soaked in nostalgia, and this is played off with a sound that feels like it comes straight from Joe Mount’s laptop. Unlike The English Riviera and parts of Love Letters, Summer 08 is a more synthetic affair, artificially generated and self-aware. But this doesn’t feel like a letdown, in fact it merely adds to the nostalgia value.
Summer 08 also feels like an album that’s definitely split into two clear sections. If you look at the album like Nights Out, which sound tracked a ‘bad weekend’, Summer 08 feels like the build up and the come down of a night on the town. The first half of the album is the ‘build up’, with opener ‘Back Together’ showing the narrator as a lady killer, a flirt, but almost inviting the listener to rejoin him on this tale of debauchery. The follower, ‘Miami Logic’, exhibits these very trademark Metronomy synths and funky bass lines, which continues onto ‘Old Skool’, a track whose dark keys echo the seedy underbelly of a drug addled house party. Despite these apparently darker theme, the cowbell and cameo from Mix Master Mike maintain that Metronomy quirk. ’16 Beat’ has tighter, club like beat, while ‘Hang Me Out To Dry’ opens with these Twin Peaks like synths, and features a brilliant vocal hook from Robyn.
The second half of the album, however, delves into the slower paced numbers, the ‘come down’, so to speak. While it doesn’t quite satisfy the listener as much as the first half, there are still some great moments here. ‘Mick Slow’ features some distorted bass lines and high pitched vocals that will sound familiar to anyone who has ventured even slightly into the band’s back catalogue. ‘Night Owl’ has a really nice vocal hook with some radio friendly instrumentation. While ‘Summer Jam’ might not be the big finish we were hoping for, it’s still a decent enough track that ends the alcohol fuelled night we’ve heard so much about.
With tracks that mostly span around three and a half minutes, and a nostalgic, homemade feel, Summer 08 is an album that Joe Mount just had to make. The fact it won’t be toured emphasises the fact it’s more of a passing album than a staple of the Metronomy discography, such as Love Letters. But that doesn’t make it any less enjoyable, and there are some killer tracks on this record, and some great deep cuts too.
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