Album Reviews

Metronomy – Summer 08


I remember the summer of 2008 pretty fondly, with a cracking European Championships, a family trip to Australia and the release of the Dark Knight refusing to be overshadowed by the Russian invasion of Georgia, Nickleback’s ‘Rockstar’ dominating the airwaves and the impending doom of the move to “big school”. Despite my adventures, it was an even busier summer for Metronomy’s Joe Mount, who was making a step into the big leagues of his own: with the impending release of his second album under the Metronomy moniker, Nights Out, Mount was becoming more involved with the London scene than the Devon nightlife that inspired his band’s breakthrough. Summer 08 sees Mount revisit the sonic textures of that album to try and recapture it’s carefree soul.

After the nuanced tones of 2011’s English Riviera and it’s 70s inspired follow up Love Letters, the blaring 80s stomp of opening track of ‘Back Together’ is something of a shock. Over the song’s throbbing synth beat, Mount adopts a falsetto to impersonate a potential lover interest in a back- and-forth (‘Hey Girl’/ ‘Who? Me?’). It’s highly camp to the point of being embarrassing, and sounds painfully close The 1975’s current Duran Duran-aping incarnation. It does sound like it would be absolutely perfect to accompany a montage in Made In Chelsea, though, so make of that what you will.

Things do pick up very quickly from there though. Celebrating the trashier side of 80s is still very much order of the day, but there’s something irresistible about the funk-rock sleaze of ‘Miami Logic’, while ‘Old Skool’, which sees Mount address his apathy towards his West London peers, is seductive, postmodern disco at it’s finest. It’s a reminder of how deeply personal the album is (with no tour to follow, this is more of a Mount solo album than ever), and probably the best example of this is ‘16 Beat’. A tribute to Mount’s trusted drum machine, it’s inherently sweet (‘I think of you all the time’), and, quite tellingly, Mount displays a lot more warmth and affection here than he does towards the human character on the rest of the album.

Mount’s decision not to tour in support of the record is a brave one in the present day, especially given how well much of it would translate in a live setting. ‘Nite Owl’, whose brooding organ-toned synth intro gives way to soaring space rock, would be perfect in a festival set, as would ‘Hang Me Out To Dry.’ A leftover from the Love Letters sessions, Mount recruited Robyn to add some extra pop sheen, with the pair trading vocals over the album’s most infectious beat. Mount may be making this record solely for himself, but that doesn’t mean he’s ignoring his huge crossover potential.

Closing the record is the largely instrumental slow burn of ‘Summer Jam’, whose almost elegiac tone is in stark contrast with the jittering energy of Nights Out. Mount has always been something of a romantic, and one hopes Summer 08’s whimsical and deeply personal reflection on his recent past should free him creatively so that his next release will be something vitally modern. In the mean time, there’s plenty of retro goodness here to make the playlists of Summer ’16 that bit fresher. Caolán Coleman