It’s 2011. I’m (admittedly only just) getting over my Cheryl Cole, Fight For This Love phase, and I will not listen to anything other than the music that I deem to be “cool”. The small amount of money I earn from my babysitting job just about covers the cost of my sparse social life, leaving very little to spare. But each week, on a Tuesday, I would start up my family computer, log in to iTunes, and download my lifeline, my ticket to the current indie music scene – the free Single of the Week. This week, it was a track called ‘Everything Goes My Way’, by a band I hadn’t heard of before. That band was Metronomy.
Flash forward eight years, and I’m stood in the middle of a packed out Concorde 2 singing along to the track I’d downloaded all that time ago, along with 600 other Metronomy fans who’d likely heard it not long before me. It sounds just as fresh as it did upon first release, the sweet vocals of drummer Anna Prior and the gentle acoustic guitar chords bringing an atmosphere of calm and serenity to the room, and indicating the start of what was to be a sporadic yet eclectic setlist.
Opening with ‘Heartbreaker’, a track from their 2008 studio album, Nights Out, the band embrace the fans that have accompanied them on their journey from the relative unknown to the present day, and treat them to the likes of ‘The Bay’ and ‘The Look’, tracks whose iconic bass lines and eighties inspired synth feel overwhelmingly nostalgic, despite being released under a decade ago.
However, the gig is soon established as an ode to their most recent album, the 17-track Metronomy Forever, released the week before via Because Music. ‘Whitsand Bay’ has all the traits of the track I first loved – Anna guesting on vocals, an understated and repetitive style – and warms the crowd with its mellow tones and subtle harmonies. This is soon contrasted with the bouncy notes of ‘Walking In The Dark’, it’s sci-fi inspired elements emerging in the chorus and adding a surreal layer to the seemingly conventional performance.
Yet again, the show takes a turn as the funky intro guitar riffs of ‘Insecurity’ add another layer to the set – but it’s recently released ‘Salted Caramel Ice Cream’ that steals the show. The clunky off-beat synth is instantly recognisable, the audience singing back every word of the ingenious lyrics, “She’s bubbling like the water in my kettle//She’s the sting in a nettle//The drummer in my metal band”.
It’s been 20 years since Metronomy front man Joseph Mount pinned down a name for his experimental project. Since then, the group has gained four members, released six studio albums, and toured with iconic names and at iconic venues across the globe. But as I’m stood in a tiny sweatbox at the end of Madeira Drive on a Monday night, it’s clear that despite all that time and distance, the music is still as close to fans hearts as ever, and Metronomy’s live performances are still enabling them to connect with the crowds better than ever before.
Metronomy’s latest album Metronomy Forever is available to purchase/stream now. Metronomy will embark on a UK tour in November including a night at London’s Roundhouse.