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Metronomy - Nights Out

Metronomy, Nights Out

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 2 out of 5

NIGHTS Out, the sophomore album from Metronomy, was conceived and put together as a deliberate attempt to defy perceived wisdom about MP3 culture and the willfully low attention span of those pesky, thieving noughties pop kids.

Sadly, it backfires in that aim, emerging as only a sporadically catchy prog-disco offering.

Drawing on shades of early Brian Eno, Sparks, Devo, Talking Heads and Soft Cell, not to mention Georgio Moroda and New Order, it’s a generally hit-and-miss collection of songs from Joseph Mount, Gabriel Stebbing and Oscar Cash that never once adds up to a satisfying whole.

When it works, there are some pop gems, with former single Heartbreaker, in particular, emerging as the type of catchy offering that the album could have used more of. Opening with a distinct bassline and drawing on some synth-heavy powerchords and a whistle-along chorus, it’s an ode to male heartbreak that really does offer broad appeal.

Later on, On Dancefloor repeats the trick, shimmying along on a bed of processed beats, sexy guitar licks and another easygoing chorus. Think New Order combined with The Pet Shop Boys and you’re in the right neighbourhood.

There’s even a ramshackle kookiness to final track Night Outro, delivered on acoustic guitars, that ends things on an unexpectedly high note.

But in between, there’s a lot of lukewarm offerings that peter out of your subconsciousness before they’ve had chance to really go anywhere.

Synth heavy offerings such as Radio Ladio and My Heart Rate Rapid, or the odious excess of the quasi-jazz slice of experimentalism that is Side 2 really test the patience.

While even the inclusion of some welcome female vocals on A Thing For Me fails to mask the album’s inherent failings – an over-reliance on that over-familiar synth-based ’80s sound and a general lack of zest. This track, in particular, emerges as a hybrid of The Human League and Soft Cell, but not in a good way.

Metronomy may lay claim to challenging musical perceptions and putting forward an album that demands the listener’s complete and repeated attention, but the MP3 crowd will have the last laugh as they cheekily extract the best tracks. Sadly, there’s only a handful of them worth taking!

Download picks: Heartbreaker, On Dancefloor, Night Outro

Track listing:

  1. Nights Out
  2. End Of You Too
  3. Radio Ladio
  4. My Heart Rate Rapid
  5. Heartbreaker
  6. On The Motorway
  7. Side 2
  8. Holiday
  9. Thing For Me
  10. Back On The Motorway
  11. On Dancefloors
  12. Nights Outro
  13. Radio Ladio [video]
  14. Holiday [video]
  15. Heartbreaker [video]