Melodious and unmistakably Metronomical, Joseph Mount and co’s latest packs some real gems into its short runtime
The British electronic group Metronomy exist in their own cosy niche: introspective songwriting, instrumentation that isn’t afraid to be lush, funky or rootsy, and Joseph Mount’s vocal delivery with an emotive, boyish character. In this vein their latest album Small World is unmistakably Metronomical, and packs some real gems into its short runtime.
The pre-released tune Things Will Be Fine is one of the album’s catchiest, with an uptempo backbeat and lyrics that toe the line intriguingly between reassuring and resigned (“The sooner you tell someone / the better you will feel / so please / put your trust in me / as soon as you do I’ll say / when I’ve made up my mind / but you know / things will be fine”), especially as the titular line scrapes the lower end of Mount’s range.
Right On Time takes a more hedonistic approach with one of the band’s most danceable grooves since The Bay, disco-inflected violin figures and an acoustic guitar/piano combo syncopating as one, while Love Factory plays on the contrast between its sickly sweet arrangement and the overdriven electric guitar solo in its middle section. However, not all of the songs endear themselves this way, as the slower songs meander and Hold Me Tonight feels downright patronising in its simplicity.
It’s Good To Be Back is a clear highlight, taking the burbly synthwork of vintage house music and infusing it with the spirit of a cheery summer’s day – if some of the album’s droopier moments were replaced with music like this it could easily have been one of the group’s best. It would also have aligned them with contemporaries such as Hot Chip and Junior Boys who have turned to a more club-centric style in recent years, but as it is Small World is melodious and twee in a good way.