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Joseph Mount's new album, 'Love Letters', has a title that speaks volumes about sensations and modes of communication, about things that have always been there, and will always be here.
In its execution, 'Love Letters' tries to do fresh things in an old-fashioned way. It takes richer methods of recording and injects them with the shock of the new – of tight electronics, and experiments in sound. It does so not to be retro, but to embrace the quality standards of the past. It also aims to be up there with the greats, reaching for those old stars.
'The Upsetter' is about having no reception when you want to send a message to someone special, for instance, and about the memory of listening to music when you were young. Monstrous is about holding on tight to everything you love, in a world you don't understand (“honestly”, Mount sings, “it's all I'm thinking of”). 'Reservoir' is about a place near where Mount's parents live, where glittering keyboards mimic “heartbeats drifting together”. 'Month Of Sundays' shimmers its emotions through bright, shining guitars. Too. All show the warmth, richness and depth being added to the Metronomy sound.
New musical spirits inhabit this album, too. 'I'm Aquarius' was inspired by Diana Ross and The Supremes' 1969 album, 'Let The Sunshine' In, full of psychedelic atmospheres, and gorgeous backing vocal shoop-shoops. Mount nearly left the song behind because he thought it didn't sound like him, before he realised his style was naturally growing and changing.
This was also the time to start having new adventures, he quickly realised. 'Boy Racers' came next, the spoken-word song he'd always wanted to write (but then ditched the spoken word part because ‘it didn’t sound very good’). Then came 'Call Me', driven by glittering organ lines, and the exhilarating title track, with a four-to-the-floor beat, skipping between Motown and northern soul.
These songs go places Metronomy never have before, and they do so spectacularly. All on a record where old friends take our hands, and lead us somewhere new.
1. The Upsetter
2. I'm Aquarius
4. Love Letters
5. Month Of Sundays
6. Boy Racers
7. Call Me
8. The Most Immaculate Haircut
10. Never Wanted