Release Date: Jul 1, 2016
Record label: Because Music
Genre(s): Electronic, Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Club/Dance
The quest for the funk is long and painful: just ask George Clinton and his acid-drenched search for the perfect bass pop. Throughout the years thousands upon thousands of brothers and sisters have fallen down funk’s crack, ending up in the sweaty pits of cod reggae or the humourless void of post punk. Not Metronomy. Those wily west country fellas have been sneakily pursuing the funk for years.
However, Mount's reflections on this era don't occur in a vacuum, and the melancholia of his later work resurfaces on Summer 08's second half. Sleekly bittersweet songs like "Night Owl" and "My House" evoke The English Riviera's winning blend of motion and emotions, while "Hang Me Out to Dry," a pulsing duet with Robyn mixed by Errol Alkan (who helped raise Mount's profile back in the day), continues Metronomy's tradition of inspired collaborations. Summer 08's ballads are more precisely poignant than those on Love Letters, whether Mount tempers his optimism on "Love's Not an Obstacle" or tries to make a moment last forever on "Mick Slow.
After the slight misstep of 2014’s inconsistent Love Letters, Summer 08 marks a return to form for the Devon auteur Joseph Mount, and a slick change in direction. Where Love Letters had a scattershot approach to genre, encompassing 60s psyche and Motown, this time Mount focuses tightly on funk-infused pop. Sinuous and slinky, old-school nods to Prince at his most lascivious (“I love sex and I love dancing”), while elsewhere there are moments of genuine pop brilliance, not least the hookup with Robyn, Hang Me Out to Dry, and Night Owl.
A gaudy, glittery slab of disco, ‘Summer ‘08’ is Metronomy like we’ve never heard them before. The record that Joe Mount always wanted to make (before being distracted by the runaway success of both ‘The English Riviera’ and ‘Love Letters,’ that is) it nods back to summers past in both title and sonic ambition. On this album, Mount sings about booking tables at pop-ups over pulsing Daft Punk-nodding bass lines, and details rich kid rendezvous on the glitchy, shoulder-jutting ‘Old Skool’.
Despite their impressive ascent to mainstream success in the UK with their last couple of albums, it appears that success isn't such a big concern for Metronomy's frontman/founder Joe Mount. Now a family man, Mount chose to follow up 2014's Love Letters by ignoring any expectations and pulling out a quickie album on his own.Although Mount told his band mates to sit this one out both in the studio and on the road, Summer 08 should very much be considered the fifth Metronomy album. It's easy to get the impression that this solo effort means he's back to the DIY days that produced 2006's modest Pip Paine (Pay the £5000 You Owe), but those days are too far gone.
Joe Mount finds the not-so-distant past as a ripe source of inspiration on Summer 08. With four albums in his arsenal, each taking Metronomy’s penchant for quirky pop in new directions, this fifth full-length sees Mount venture out by himself and try to recapture the not-so halcyon days of sophomore (and breakthrough) record Nights Out. It's an effort on his part to come to terms with the trappings of critical success that the record brought the band eight years ago; missing family celebrations due to touring and dealing with his new position as something of an indie darling in the music media.
It feels slightly wrong to praise Metronomy for a lack of pretentiousness—akin, almost, to Joe Satriani being minimalist or Liam Gallagher in tune. There probably isn't a single act that epitomises 2010s likeable-but-nothing-special Brit hipster music, but Metronomy are about as near as damn it. Furthermore they are originally from Totnes and, speaking as someone who has spent many holidays around there over 30 years, a more precious small town you'll struggle to find.
In the summer of 2008, Katy Perry burst onto the scene with 'I Kissed A Girl,' Coldplay released Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends and Joseph Mount's electronic act Metronomy was preparing to release Nights Out. That manic dancefloor LP ended up on a number of year-end lists, fueled principally by jittering jams like 'My Heart Rate Rapid' and nostalgia-drenched cuts such as 'A Thing For Me.' The framework was laid for the group's successful 2011 follow-up, Mercury Prize-nominated seaside saunter The English Rivera, and the less-successful dabble into psych-rock on 2014's Love Letters. Perhaps it was this slight misstep that has Mount looking into the not-so-distance past on the group's new record, Summer 08.
Since Joe Mount brought the distinctly odd Pip Paine (Pay The £5000 You Owe) into the world, there’s been something of a fear that this little project would entirely consume him. Created as a way to escape the tedium of the small town he grew up in near the South West coast, Pip Paine... was a wonderful, raucous smash of noisy instrumentals that took French house and stripped it right back.
Metronomy's public face has always been a front. Those beautiful bandmates in matching slacks, frolicking in a Michel Gondry video? They rarely appear on the records, which are solely the creations of Devonshire synth obsessive Joe Mount. Their—or, his—fifth album strips away any lingering pretense that this is a band deal. There are no cutesy press shots, and there will be no tour.
In the summer of 2008, Katy Perry had kissed a girl (and she liked it), Dizzee Rascal and Calvin Harris were beseeching people to Dance Wiv Me, and people were flocking to the cinema to watch Pierce Bronson murder various Abba classics in the film Mamma Mia. It was a strange kind of summer. Meanwhile, somewhere in a studio on the south coast, Joe Mount was working on what would become the second Metronomy album, Nights Out.
Joseph Mount’s Metronomy project has been around for a decade. It looked to be turning into a well-oiled unit on 2014’s Love Letters. While it’s clearly Mount who runs things, his decision to write and record his latest work alone, in a bid to get back to the sounds and methodology of his earliest work, might seem risky. Summer 08 is what you might call recent retro, harking back to Mount’s early days in London, breaking through, meeting people and living it up.
Metronomy seem to have ever so slightly lost their way since the sublime high-water mark of 2011’s The English Riviera. Thus, Metronomy’s Joseph Mount has gone back in search of the “naivety” of the band’s early music. He’s dispensed with bigger studios and – for the time being – other band members as Summer 08 references the period just before the commercial breakthough of their second album, Nights Out.
Even in a pop culture landscape that runs on a jet-fuel grade of nostalgia, it feels a little early to start looking back to 2008. For the same reason that the idea of a 22-year-old’s memoirs sounds insufferable, reflection tends to benefit from a lot of space and time — we reflect in order to look at the same things from a new perspective, even the knowledge that perspectives change. On his new album under the Metronomy moniker, Joseph Mount looks back to 2008 and the release of Nights Out.
“Summer 08,” Metronomy British electronic band Metronomy takes a step back to go forward on its slyly conceived fifth album, evoking its earlier, quirkier work. Even at its moodiest, this is a deliriously inventive and often whimsical dance record. Joseph Mount writes, performs, and produces, infusing his slightly bent electropop with melody and intricate rhythms.
Metronomy do a strong line in eccentricity. Frontman and mastermind Joe Mount once wrote an album, 2008’s ‘Nights Out’, about having a bad time in his home town of Totnes in Devon. Long-term fans will remember their gloriously titled 2006 debut ‘Pip Paine (Pay The £5000 You Owe)’. Meanwhile, Mount’s 2011 breakthrough ‘The English Riviera’ was off-centre electronica at its very finest and, as the name suggested, in the best tradition of British pop whimsy.Still, the concept behind the follow-up to 2014’s Motown-inspired ‘Love Letters’ sounds like it might test even Mount’s reserves of creativity.
This past month was a generally slow one in terms of album releases, and yet Carl and I were able to find some true gems that will surely stick with us through the entire year. I was downright elated every time I spun the rather joyful Wildflower, The Avalanches comeback statement, while Carl ….