At the time I was asked to review the gig, I only vaguely recognised the name Metronomy: a band that was suggested to me by a friend and fellow music fan circa 2011, about the same time they released their Mercury nominated album The English Riviera. As I recall, I gave them a stream, but unenthused I dropped them like a stone. Tonight I’ve come to see them play the opening night of their Summer 08 tour at Glasgow’s O2 ABC, purely on that five year old recommendation and the chance that they might actually be good.
The band looks neat by my book. They walk out all in white 1980’s pant suits to take their posts against a backdrop illuminated with pastel spot lights. The first song is also the opener of Summer 08. The track builds on a weird scale of discording notes, before breaking out into a shiny synthetic pop chorus. Despite my inner objections to the key choices, I dig this tune. I find the percussion quite thrilling as I watch the front man, Joseph Mount, front of stage stylishly slapping his bongos.
The following two songs are likewise sequent tracks on the new album. I often like when bands do this: to me it symbolises conviction in the new work, and in this case I concur rightly so. Fittingly, I find Metronomy’s rhythmical core very strong both in percussion and bass. Miami Funk conjures up more 80’s imagery with its slap bass guitar riff, while Old School reminds me of the days of ‘New Rave’ with its cowbell disco-funk beat reminiscent of The New Young Pony Club and LCD Sound System.
It should be no surprise that Metronomy are so rhythmically tight considering their pioneering member’s background in drumming from a young age. Similar to some of his contemporaries, Joseph started Metronomy out of a bedroom project, releasing their first album 2005 before being swept up into the hype of the ‘New Rave’ movement.
The band dips into their back catalogue and I uncover more of their artistic influencers, as their playing grows off in varied directions. Surprisingly, My Heart Beats Rapid and On Dance Floors put me in mind of some demented, retro platform game, and also of some great fun festival bands like Henge and Age of Glass. The crowd love these songs as much as, if not more than, the funked-up Electro Pop of the first half that I’d assumed to be more commercial. Indeed I conclude that this band would be great to see at a festival.
Metronomy went some way to convince me of their strengths tonight, and I admire them for their ambition in producing work that is such a unique blend of genres and influences. However, at times I did feel the influences were too obvious, in such a way that they took predominance over the originality of the song writing. Neither was I impressed by some of the vocal qualities, lyrics or guitar melodies. Criticisms aside Metronomy were well worth seeing and I would encourage anyone to go and see them play at a festival this summer.
For more on the band and their tour click here.