When The English Riviera by Metronomy was released in 2011, it propelled the four-piece to the forefront of the UK’s electropop scene.
Three years later and this time, frontman Joseph Mount borrows heavily from the past to keep them there with the follow-up, Love Letters.
While their reputation for quirky pop sensibilities and the album’s title might suggest something more romantic, the record is a love blues odyssey through and through.
“Just one fight and just one anniversary, so I never thought you’d be the one to up and leave,” sings Mount on the record’s standout moment, ‘I’m Aquarius’.
That early single may not be too dissimilar from the hits of their last album, but the ‘she do wap’ style backing vocals signal a newfound Motown influence.
However, the myriad of sonic influences can be hard to pin down to just one era, as the record transcends the 70s, 80s, and beyond.
Elsewhere on ‘The Most Immaculate Haircut’, the female back-up vocals land more on the menacing side of things, while their effect on the title track is more irritating than it is catchy.
Amongst the honkytonk pianos of ‘Love Letters’ and the funked-out acid trip of ‘Boy Racers’, Metronomy aim for a conceptualised pop release.
That is to say the intent here is to create a diverse mature listening experience, which goes beyond the comparatively straightforward electronic immediacy of The English Riviera.
However, Mount assumes that listeners will have a level of patience that they don’t actually have.
And it’s not because the album has less potential hits. With a greater reliance on vocals than its predecessor, the record is more cluttered and less consistent.
As a pop release, Love Letters misses the point. Patience may be a virtue, but the album provides few gateways of accessibility. Which, after time, begs the question: what are we waiting around so long for?
Listen to ‘I’m Aquarius’ from Love Letters here: