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March 24, 2014 | by  | in Arts Music | [ssba]

Metronomy – Love Letters Review

One of the more inexplicable beauties of music is its ability to teleport us to a particular moment, a memory, an emotion. You should not listen to Love Letters if you have recently broken up with someone, are thinking of breaking up with someone, or just generally hate people. It will only intensify your pain.

Literally every song on this record develops on the themes of heartbreak and rejection. But it’s not just the lyrics – “never wanted, never needed, you said honey, best be leaving” – the melodies are narrow in range and minimalistic, complimenting frontman Joseph Mount’s I’d-rather-be-in-bed style of sadness. As you might have guessed, the harmonies are almost entirely in minor keys, but what is less obvious about Metronomy’s efforts towards cohesiveness is the monotony of the album.

Remember the days, weeks, potentially months after a breakup, where the feelings of loneliness felt like they were never going to end? It was hard to allow yourself to feel any blip of excitement or genuine happiness, right? That is what Love Letters’ overall structure expresses. There are no rises in tempo, no variations on the steady 4/4 beats, no new melodies, nothing surprising.

However, while repetition may be idiosyncratic to Metronomy’s sound, the lack of variety across this record is musically inexcusable; the second half of the album is almost a carbon copy of the first. The unwillingness of the band to ‘mix up’ their music across the course of the album leaves a palpable impression of hopelessness, maybe even of laziness.

:’(

It really is a shame that there are minor ‘faults’ in this otherwise brilliant concept album. The instrumentation – particularly the use of brass, keys (electric harpsichord!!!) and guitar – were all welcome additions to the mainly electronic act. The guitar solo in ‘The Upsetter’ is a moving highlight, and ‘Boy Racers’ sounds like the theme song from Revenge of the Nerds. Give it a listen, but be careful.

 

[ssba]

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