On I’m Aquarius, Joseph Mount sings “I’m a tourist” in one of the choruses, which is a playful jab at both himself and the audience. After getting a Mercury nomination for The English Riviera, it’s hard to imagine people expected a record like this from them. And while Aquarius isn’t about being a fish out of water, it does feel like a slightly tongue-in-cheek reference to the situation.
It feels like Metronomy is playing with their audience, though: Monstrous is where the album takes off. And Love Letters is where it just explodes. Once Love Letters takes off, it really just goes from there and keeps going. Boy Racers is just fundamentally interesting, and it reminds me of some of the electronic trance music that was hitting the scene around 1998 or 1999.
None of that is to say that Metronomy are interested in pursuing the brand of pop that got them so many accolades before. They’re taking the Radiohead route and reacting to their success by running in the opposite direction as quickly as possible. They’ve traded in the precision of their earlier picture-perfect pop records for a warmer, more natural approach that feels more organic and (dare I say it?) traditional.
By the time the album ends with Never Wanted, you, well, never want it to end. So Love Letters is a slow burner, one that starts with its toes and works its way up, and that’s okay. Structurally, it reminds me of The Beatles’s Revolver — and that’s not a complaint.