WHEN: JULY 1st 2016 | WHERE: BECAUSE MUSIC | LOVE.LIKE.ALRIGHT: LIKE
The summer of ’08 was a particular highlight of my life. I was fifteen years old and puberty was in full swing. This meant that I was riddled with acne, sported a not-fashionable haircut and was just getting into my phase of adoring emo music; I believe I was known as the studmuffin of Essex. In that same time English electronic band Metronomy experienced a huge crash through the glass ceiling thanks to the seminal release of their second album Nights Out. With this new record Summer 08 Metronomy – well, Joseph Mount – looks to discuss all of the shards of glass it made in a way that only he can, through the medium of off-kilter funk music and abject loneliness.
Opening track ‘Back Together’ features a punchy instrumental that’s battered with a strong bassline – which hits just as hard as the one heard on Nights Out’s ‘Heartbreaker’ – and a catchy drum beat which altogether forms a solid way to kick off the record. Mount throws many styles of his vocals together throughout this track which helps create some noticeable moments such as the spiral descend into the opening flurry of drums, and the hilarious boy/girl conversation that follows.
Lead single ‘Old Skool’ is a superb tune with a very simple formula which slowly builds up an instrumental that boasts a chugging synth beat alongside a smooth bass line that’s paired up with a drum beat that focuses on the subtle hints of bells to amplify the groove. It’s a track that immediately goes straight to the hips, sparking a dance move that sways side to side as effortlessly as the track itself. This is followed by the hard hitting drum intro of ’16 Beat’ and the wonderful collaboration with Robyn on the track ‘Hang Me out to Dry’, which adds some much needed variation to the record.
Deeper cuts such as ‘Mick Slow’, ‘My House’ and ‘Love’s Not An Obstacle’ back up the sound of Summer 08 by laying some smooth-grooved tempos which all feature some deep-rooted synth beats that lack a lot of brightness that came with the vibrant beginning. This moody descend towards the close of the album definitely details the hangover stage of the particular timeframe for Joe Mount. The slightly slower tempo is paired with such elements as the dazing intro to ‘Night Owl’ before slipping back into the swing of things once again.
With Joe Mount making the decision to record all of Summer 08 on his own, the result is an album that sounds noticeably more intimate than its predecessors. 2014’s Love Letters featured all kinds of togetherness which helped soar tracks such as the title track and ‘I’m Aquarius’ into huge pop anthems. This time around there’s not many harmonies at all. All that remains is one guy with a lot of access to synthesisers, bass guitars, regular guitars and Swedish pop star Robyn, of all people. The atmosphere feels very secluded and while the grooves come in bountiful amounts, the lack of air surrounding it makes everything feel very rigid, as if Mount’s attempting to recreate the exact level of comfort he experienced during the time his band became hugely exposed to the mainstream.
Summer 08 is a very solid record from Metronomy but it’s one that certainly could benefit from a little of the togetherness that was present throughout Love Letters. Much of the record’s material could have benefitted from some extra backing vocals from the members of the band, but instead it all seems to sound very…almost ready. The production has a slight lo-fi twinge to it which keeps a lot of the tracks sounding quite firmly within a demo-esque vibe, but this might have been something Joe Mount would’ve wanted for this record, detailing a lot of the sounds of Nights Out and the subsequent rollercoaster he experienced in the summer of ’08.