Metronomy, review: a love letter to electro-pop

4.00

Brixton Academy, London

Having just won enthusiastic reviews for their fourth album, Love Letters, this British band seem to sail onstage on clouds of glory - or maybe that’s just the effect of the set, made up of pink-tinged cumulus, reflecting their recent cover art. The cool precision of Metronomy’s electro-pop is matched tonight with an equally neatly constructed visual look: in cream slacks, co-ordinated shoes and burgundy blazers, the natty five-piece could be extras in a Wes Anderson movie. Three of them are perched atop neon-lit game show podiums. It’s all very droll.

There’s a hint of the lounge band in their retro keys and synth stylings too. “Love Letters”, title track of that fourth album, has an innocent old-fashioned charm with its sweet harmonies and tambourine-claps, and prompts some sprightly onstage dancing to the good solid drum beats from Anna Prior. The off-kilter pop of “I’m Aquarius”, by contrast, darkens it’s “shoop-doop-doop”s with claustrophobic, moody washes of sound. “Reservoir” features keyboards as sharply sour as razor-sliced lemons - although as four of the band bop their heads together on backing vocals like they’re enjoying an in-joke, there are issues with the act managing to fill this cavernous venue.

Sometimes Metronomy sound small and tinny, minutely constructed chamber-pop rather than big-crowd epic. The latest album seems intentionally narrower in focus, less accessible, which carries over into the live show in places. A couple of psychedelic instrumental numbers don’t quite translate as well as they might in a sweaty-pit venue, and while frontman Joseph Mount’s voice can be enjoyably arch, and reach a trilling falsetto, it can also sound underpowered here.

That’s not to say, however, that they don’t manage to scoop us up into their rose-tinted skies: this is, overall, a winning evening. And it’s the danceable familiar tracks from their last album, 2011’s The English Riviera, rather than the new stuff, that really ignites the crowd. This perhaps should come as no surprise: it was their sun-bleached break-out, Mercury nominated and all. Live, it certainly works to warm up our dancing feet.

“She Wants” pairs deep electronic growls with percussive clicks and slapping drums, while the bass is all strutting pastiche-funk. The tight, neat, shiny pop of “The Look” has just the right hint of ennui, synth lines carved like glass in their icy perfection. “Corrine” is delivered double-time, with a rocking-out swagger and a camp skip round the stage from the magnetic bassist Gbenga Adelekan. And an older favourite, the glitchy Hot Chip-esque “Radio Ladio” features squeaky synths and juicy, jaunty guitar that peals like a tangerine. 

They return for an encore by peeking out from behind those clouds, the cheeky scamps, this time dressed in navy blue. “The Most Immaculate Haircut” bows Metronomy out in, well, immaculate style. Mount politely tells us, before we leave, “Brixton, whether you're taking the night bus or the tube, we'd like to wish you a safe journey home”. So polite; so bright.

Arts and Entertainment

Great British Bake Off
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

    Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

    But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
    Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

    Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

    Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
    Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

    Britain's 24-hour culture

    With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
    Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

    The addictive nature of Diplomacy

    Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
    Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

    Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

    Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
    8 best children's clocks

    Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

    Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
    Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
    Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

    How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

    Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
    Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

    'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

    In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
    Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

    The Arab Spring reversed

    Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
    King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

    Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

    Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
    Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

    Who is Oliver Bonas?

    It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
    Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

    Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

    However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
    60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

    60 years of Scalextric

    Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones