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.
Track "Right on time" sings "for now, let's enjoy the sunshine", while rather obviously titled album single "It's good to be back" tells us "Oh life / got so hard I couldn't bear it / Oh, yeah / It feels so good to be back." It's a seemingly subtle nod to the pandemic without being branded or necessarily remembered as a covid album. Metronomy are enjoying the small pleasures we have around us, yet glad to be looking beyond the past 18 months. Small World feels more of a piano-focussed album than previous records.
If there's one constant in the life and times of Metronomy, it's frontman and one-time only member, Joseph Mount. Acting as the titular metronome keeping pace through the group's various iterations, Mount makes for an interesting lead; a constant muser on matters of the heart who can't help but keep an ironic distance. But not this time. The advent of their latest revamp and corresponding record, Small World, sees a new Mount emerge, one at peace with his role as a romantic, and brimming over with hope for a world working past the last two years.
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.