Metronomy’s third LP is a decidedly British summer affair. From its minimal beats to the squawking seagull samples that preface the album, The English Riviera ebbs with a sunny accessibility that detours from the band’s previous efforts. While this approach may displease older followers, it will appeal to new fans yearning for hot sand and a hefty dose of aloe vera.

As always, the beating heart of Metronomy lies within the musings of Joseph Mount. It is his tales of hometown Devon that steer and define the album. With the sparse kick-back of ‘We Broke Free’ to the jazz stylings of ‘Loving Arm’, English Riviera hums with nostalgia, even if it is for Mount more than anyone else.

The strength of the LP lies within its singles. ‘The Look’ succeeds thanks to its sheer kookiness and reliance on the most unlikely of keyboard hooks. ‘She Wants’ has a dark undertone that gets better by the fifth listen, while ‘The Bay’ threatens to unleash a dancefloor pump before recoiling back into the album’s vibe. Others tracks – such as ‘Corrine’ and ‘Trouble’ – possess a similar quality but lack the polish of their counterparts. Ultimately they serve to fatten the album more than anything else.

The only time the wheels begin to shake is when Mount reverts back to a style that would suit Metronomy’s earlier works. The most obvious example of this, ‘Love Underlined’, spans nearly six minutes and is incessant on running with the same beat for its duration. It’s almost as if Mount felt the need to give his long-time electro fans one last throwback before moving on.

It is debatable whether the album is strong enough for Metronomy to adopt a similar approach for their next outing. Clearly the band has an affinity for such an accessible sound. As it stands, The English Riviera is a breezy, if somewhat throwaway, slice of electro-pop.

–       Paul Bonadio

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