Caught snippets of The Bay on the radio, wasn't overly fussed at first, but thought I'd give them another look seeing as I'd recognised their music. So relieved I had. So many things can pass you by when you make false first impressions. The Bay is good, but the album is stellar. Far, far better than you can expect. I found myself slow to take to Joseph's vocals, now I adore his voice. It's just so infectious. They're just so masterful; they fuse electronica with an pick-and-mix bag of instruments (I'm no musician), creating a sound that on paper just should not work.
Can I point you to masterpiece Some Unwritten? You can disagree. But you'd be wrong. Corinne is just, lest I abuse superlatives, erm, so good. The honeyed female vocals (Anna Prior's) in Everything Goes My Way is like a shot of something warming on an autumn's day, preparing you neatly for the hooky The Look, so catching the doctor will only diagnose you with some form of wonderful tinnitus. There's no remedy, just live with it. Reminds me of when I first heard Air's Moon Safari as a teen, nothing was the same thereafter. I lived in some sort of Air bubble going about my business, it was just the psychedelic soundtrack on loop.
Saw some spotlight critical reviews for the English Riviera but again, didn't pursue it. With clemency, some god has hit me with a stick and awoken me to their music. Cleaned out those ear passages of mine. Another one of my albums of the year, though ironically enough, released within the last few years. What a find. Just the tonic for aural torpidity.
There's more than a space for Metronomy in everyone's music collection. You'd have to look hard for another band with the same unique music; but should you do, they'd only be second-rate copies of something original.
How did this not blow off the competition at the Mercury's? Critics, you err.
Several years ago I stumbled across Midlake and their rather excellent Trials of Van Occupanther album. It contains the quite sublime single Roscoe and really is my choice when I want to just sit back and chill with some music that soothes and pleases in equal measures. The English Riviera might just supplant that CD now as it really does those two tasks and quite a few more. For an album that's named after the area of Devon where the head honcho comes from it has influences all over the globe. The laid back elegance of French music, Gainsbourg particularly, the electronics of the 80's new wave, the mid 80 Peter Gabriel sound (listen to She Wants and it could be off PG3 or 4), some have suggested the eagles are referenced here too although it doesn't quite pull me in that direction. However, what is always here is an incredibly well put together, melodic and memorable album.
To point at a single track or one or two would be missing the point here as its very consistent throughout. This is adult oriented pop music that pretty much delivers every time. The music lingers afterwards and you can feel yourself wanting to listen again. The vocal harmonies are good and the male and female counterparts are used well. If you want a good chilled pop album then you will be well pleased on hearing this.
Now is a good time to re-appreciate this album. The Mercury panel have deemed it worthy of the short-list and whilst it probably won't win it will get more airplay and that's exactly what it deserves.
I have no doubt that The English Riviera will be a classic album of the generation. I typically only buy vinyl on the condition that it's listenable all the way through (no skipping tracks now!) and this is certainly no exception - I will listen to it again and again. Each song is very distinctive in character, often going flitting through from melancholy to upbeat electronic / disco. I'm not sure I would want to put it into a genre due as that tends to flatten an album to 2D - this is truly '3D'. I love it to bits. The artwork and attention to detail with the branding is truly impeccable, I"ll enjoy removing it from and replacing it in the sleeve every time.
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Joseph Mount lynchpin behind Metronomy comes from Devon & presents that area as an "English" Riviera, a romantic destination where magic happens. The sound of seagulls opens & tracks build up through to 4th number 'The Look' which is brilliant (also a fab video)...melodic & original. 'She Wants' trundles along & keeps the mood going whilst the gentle 'Trouble' favours some light guitar before bouncing into life. 'The Bay' with its brill oriental start is perhaps referring to the Torquay coastal area but could apply to where ever you are at the time..."cause this isn't Paris, and this isn't London, & it's not Berlin, & it's not Hong Kong, not Tokyo". The album is a form of futuristic electronica indie pop though seems inspired by the sounds of the 60's in terms of melody & could imagine as a backdrop for 'Dr Who' or 'The Avengers'. The haunting 'Loving Arm' with some simplistic shifts creates a mood for the coast & cliffs. 'Corinne' along with tasty female vocals & fine ideas creates a beautiful soundscape. As with all forms of genius there are parts that irritate like 'Some Written' but probably they had to do this to get through to the other side. 'Love Underlined' hypnotically rises through several counter rhythms coming together into a finale & is another slab of brilliance. This album has across the board appeal & though not the album of 2011 (that goes to The Jezabels 'Prisoner') it comes close.
Take a mix of Serge Gainsbourg (especially track 2 - which sounds like a direct lift from Melody Nelson), MGMT, The Bee Gees, Franz Ferdinand, Japan (there's some fretless bass in there), a little early Human League and Ultravox and some melodies from the Sarah Records back catalogue. Blend. Anglicise. Play.
I got a hold of this album based on the single 'The Look' which was being played heavily on 6 Music.
The album hasn't disappointed. Great tunes and considerable variety. Will work my way through the back catalogue based on this.
Having seen them on Jools Holland's TV show and heard a few tracks off this album elsewhere I decided it was the kind of band worthy of further inspection. The opening track is the title track and the intro reminded me of Bouvetoya's "Seashore" with its seagull and crashing waves sample, as I delved further into the album I realised that this is a remarkably mature collection of electronica based songs which always seemed to remind of a particular artists or era. Maybe that is the intention, there are a definite cross section of analogue sounds which at times reminded me of AIR and MGMT and other times Depeche Mode and Erasure. There are one or two very unique tracks as well which I had humming on my head for days such were the attractive hooks displayed. A great effort from a band that could get on my list of "must buys" when their next albums become available.