‘Summer 08’ by Metronomy Album Review: Experimental, Inventive and Outstanding
Metronomy’s latest is apparently the album frontman and mastermind behind the project Joseph Mount has always wanted to make. Summer 08, his fifth full-length album, is geared towards a blend of funk and pop that evokes its Prince influences and sounds as fresh as it is a vanguard in indie music today.
‘Summer ’08’ by Metronomy Album Review
The album’s title is a reference to the time before Metronomy’s commercial success with their sophomore album Nights Out and it signifies Mount’s search for the ease of their earlier work. Even though his approach seems somewhat radical – he’s done away with big studios and other bad members for the time being – there is something undeniably good about his ability to channel a vintage sound and make it intriguing to listen to.
Opener “Back Together” is a powerful and overwhelmingly rich groovy pop. Lead single “Old Skool” is another strong moment on the album with its chattering euphoria. Even though there are no Metronomy members on this record, the collaboration with Swedish electro-pop singer Robyn on “Hang Me Out to Dry” is exceptional. Her vocals are strong and dynamic – a counterpoint to the generally subdued sound of the track and Mount’s musing about love. The rattling beat creates bold tension that never really rises or drops. The song leads us into the second half of the album, which is slower and less banging.
“Mick Slow” slows things down and hits the snooze button. The five-minute track strips the music down to its core of beats and distortions. The electro sound seems a fitting transition for Mount and more experimental than ever. Later “Love’s Not an Obstacle” carries on in a similar mood, though on a more upbeat level, moving another step towards a funk-infused electro that is reminiscent of the sound of alt-rock band OK Go.
Even though the second half of the album tends to diminish its impact towards the end, each track on Summer 08 has a distinct character, making it a spectacular modern record. The album showcases two hybrid genres in which Mount operates. On one hand, there is the upbeat funky groove mixed with pop hooks and beats, and on the other, there is a down-tempo electronica infused with funk elements. Both of those are genuinely enjoyable, but merged together in a single album appear a little less streamlined and more experimental.