SINCE its inception, Metronomy has utilised those big electronic beats that sat so comfortably within mid-Noughties British pop music. On the outfit’s second album, Nights Out, the band made the shift from proto-beats that made up Pip Paine (Pay Back The £5000 You Owe), into something more formed. Still not the Pop perfection of The English Riviera, Nights Out is still a highly enjoyable effort that utilises its concept in a unique way.
It’s weird how Joseph Mount managed to perfectly sum up the average night out in your late teens/early twenties in just fewer than 45 minutes. From the eerily apprehensive opener ‘Nights Out Intro’, the soundtrack to your pre-drink rituals, to the exhausted ‘Nights Outro’, the song that lulls you to your bed at 4am. Whereas Arctic Monkeys described the dirty and honest nightlife of Sheffield, Metronomy saw it through rose tinted glasses that focussed on the idealisms of city dwelling and love on the dancefloor.
Despite some almost dark moments, Nights Out is an, on the whole, upbeat album. Tracks like ‘Radio Ladio’ and ‘A Thing For Me’ are some of the first Metronomy songs to utilise a hook and catchy rhythms. Both of these songs bring in higher pitched vocals, a trademark of the band, adding a smooth, glossy coating of humour to proceedings. ‘My Heart Rate Rapid’, for example, brings out Devo-esque lyrics that speak of nonsense, yet bring out adrenaline pumped lyrics like: ‘Those who doubt it/show I’ve got it/I’m gonna tell her with my heart rate rapid’. Even if taken in a light hearted fashion, they still capture the drunken confidence exhibited by so many people.
Their songs that follow the same charmingly naive narrative of seeing a girl you’ve probably spotted before, falling for her in the space of an hour and having your heart broken by the time the sun rises. Tracks like ‘Heartbreaker’ and ‘On Dancefloors’ speak of the here today, gone tomorrow attitude to the sex and love lives of the town. But while they acknowledge the throwaway nature of one night romance, it doesn’t quite deride it, instead looking at its repetitive nature (‘I heard she broke your heart again/So now you’re gonna come and see me/We’re back to the start again/When’s she gonna set me free?’)
Elsewhere, some of Metronomy’s finest hours can be found on this record. ‘Holiday’ contains one of the best bass lines Joe Mount has ever written, while ‘Side 2’ is a precursor to what would come in Summer 08. Even the shorter tracks on this album lend themselves towards the overall concept of this record. And what about the concept itself? Granted, it’s pretty thin, even Mount himself described it as “a half-arsed concept album about going out and having a crap time.” Countless people have written about going out and getting drunk, but there’s something about this record that anyone who has set foot in a crappy club , attended a house party, or witnessed debauchery on their towns street will relate to.
Nights Out is an album that accepts the nocturnal system for what it is, and puts a whimsical and humorous spin on it. Metronomy’s infectious pop music becomes greater with every listen, showing the band at a progression from home studio sessions to sophisticated production and united concepts. It’s not perfect, but it’s damn enjoyable.
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