As the title of the album, itself something of a contradiction, might imply, this is a fusion of two areas that you may not expect Metronomy to follow after the indie-disco sounds of Nights Out in 2008. The English Riviera breaks out into something more expansive, and overall successfully merges the ‘80s inspired dance with modern pop basslines. It has the scope to reach out to a new audience, without alienating traditional fans as they still retain their original electronic rhythms in songs such as ‘The Bay’, one of the deepest tracks and a desire by lead singer Joseph Mount to try and create a Mediterranean beach feel on the south coast of the UK. It’s something we all yearn for but know that inside we know will never work perfectly.
The English Riviera is an album that has seen Metronomy mature, and seen them refine their styles into calmer indie-electronic territory, while still maintaining the edge that has made them a darling of club beats and mixes. There new sound is reminiscent of a summer sunset; a time to reflect and admire the intricate nature of the surrounding environment, and that is almost tangible in the band’s newest album.
‘Corinne’ is one of the stand-out tracks that epitomise the new direction of the band. It includes some dramatic lyrics about a lost girl, as well as the rotating vocals and effects, in addition to the rising synths which reach a climax. The strong hooks and beats also combine to make it a very well developed track. ‘The Look’ – the most commercial track to date – builds on traditionally strong Metronomy territory, infused with an organ synth with Mount’s vocal attributes adding a futile and depressing sense to the song, which show how far a band can develop without losing their unique presence and base in their song writing. Although it’s hard to make comparisons, some of the lighter, summery songs sound somewhat like the Foals, while the broad tempo of the album is similar to a Hot Chip piece of work.
However, some pieces are slightly too experimental or have moved too far, ‘She Wants’ being the former, revoking some of the elements of ‘80s disco that have long been forgotten for the right reasons. ‘Some Written’ has a tempo that is too light and has minimal focus, although it does build towards the end of the track. Overall though, The English Riviera has been created as something more accessible, with a style that sees the group grow and broaden their horizons. For a band that has released their third album in still, relative obscurity, this definitely has the potential to propel them to new heights.
8 / 10