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Live Music Review: Metronomy at Rock City

19 November 19 words: Becky Timmins

The lead singer's parents met in Nottingham. They've penned an album called Love Letters. Metronomy ticket holders were always going to be in for a romantic night at the band's Rock City date this month...

Metronomy are a band who need no introduction. Helmed since 2006 by multi-instrumentalist extraordinaire Joseph Mount, Metronomy preside over a sound which borrows from the best of the past three decades - 80s pop, 90s electronica and noughties minimal indie – and have over the years evolved into one of the UK’s most inventive and seasoned bands, their output overflowing with life.

The people were resultantly thrilled by the release of Metronomy Forever earlier this year, an album packed full of their customary exuberance and massive basslines, and the band’s first release in three years. Tonight’s Rock City date comes virtually at the end of a largely sold-out UK tour in support of the new album, and it’s unsurprisingly packed. And at any Rock City show, when a band’s opening line is “Nottingham is our spiritual home”, you know it’s gonna be a damn good night.

Metronomy have oozed increasing levels of style and substance since their inception, and as they take to the stage tonight clad in uniform white jumpsuits, it seems they’ve managed to level up yet again. They unveil smash hit The Bay from 2011’s English Riviera surprisingly early on in the set, but to rapturous audience participation which doesn’t waver for the rest of the show – a wise decision. Wedding Bells follows, a delightfully determined synth-pop number from the new album which releases kaleidoscopic waves through the audience.

All five members of the band fuse virtuosity with charisma in their own ways tonight. But it is bassist Olugbenga Adelekan who particularly steals the show with bursts of stirring rhythmic mastery, and with serious oomph on 2014’s Reservoir – heightened further by the ornamental light projections that cascade down Rock City’s walls. The intricacies which characterise Metronomy’s recorded output are far from compromised during tonight’s show – from the plethora of synths and keys, to the obscure yet strangely familiar choices of percussion (I definitely spotted a double guiro up there, which I haven’t laid my eyes on since primary school).

Channelling Kraftwerk and LCD Soundsystem but through a very British lens, Mount’s Metronomy have penned some fairly underrated bangers over the years – 2011’s The Look drives the crowd wild tonight, as do future classics Salted Caramel Ice Cream and Insecurity, with the latter spilling well over the five minute mark in tonight’s live iteration; nobody wants that groove to end. Unreal instrumental passages punctuate the show like diamonds, reaching a stomping climax during Love Letters.

“Filling a place like Rock City is very nice for us”, is Mount's closing proclamation, followed by a classy and assured encore which puts new acoustic-tinged number Upset My Girlfriend at the centre. Metronomy’s inquisitive fusion of lyrical candidness with synth-laden tunes is clearly still an increasingly winning formula.

Metronomy played Rock City on Friday 15 November 2019.

Rock City website

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