Live Review: Metronomy

20 Apr
 
Metronomy, Digital, April 19 2011
 
If you have an irritating mate who suddenly starts liking bands a fortnight before they get big, the chances are he was at Metronomy’s sold-out gig at Digital proclaiming he’d loved them for years. And rightly so.
 
The Devon band’s third album, The English Riviera, is nothing short of a revelation.
They’ve made a major leap forward by eschewing the chaotic, thundering indie-dance of their previous releases in favour of intricately crafted disco gems.
 
But don’t be fooled; a calmer, more confident direction has not led to a change in the live show. Herein lies the problem.
Love Underlined, the second song they play tonight, is the one track from the new album which most closely resembles their older material so it’s no surprise that they push out the beefy synths, surging rhythms and guttural bass with vigour. It’s intense and impressive.
 
They continue in a similar vein with 2008’s Back On The Motorway, “Driving at ninety miles per hour, it’s hard to know what’s coming”, pants main man Joseph Mount, just about managing to keep up with the band’s relentless pace.
 
So far so good, but it’s when they start to drop in their more subtle new songs that they threaten to sound like a one-trick pony.
 
On the new album, She Wants is a coolly restrained number, combining a laidback killer groove with punchy synths while Corinne is a hybrid of eighties pop and seventies west coast vibes.
 
Unfortunately, instead of trying to replicate the layers and complexities of these numbers live, they obliterate them by cranking up the bass, over-egging the synths and giving them the same live battering as their older numbers. It’s still entertaining, but you can’t help feeling they are failing to showcase the full range of their talents.
 
With The English Riviera, Metronomy are set to provide the classy soundtrack for lazy summer afternoons. It’s just a shame that their entire live act is still better suited to sweat-drenched club nights at two in the morning.
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