After such a resounding success with ‘The English Riviera’, Metronomy’s Joseph Mount must have had a few moments where he thought, “shit, how do I follow that up?” Such was Metronomy’s stock, Mount could have called in any producer he wanted or availed of any studio he wished for. Instead he choose to record at Toe Rag Studios where The White Stripes made ‘Elephant’. The result is that ‘Love Letters’ has that retro analogue feel which Mount is so fond of.
In this era, this more back-to-basics approach lends the music a more human quality. What also comes through is Mount’s love of ’60s pop. The title track Love Letters is a throwback to the simplicity of that era with its repetitious chant of “love letters” embodying a mixture between Motown and Northern Soul. This is a recurring theme throughout the album and can be heard on the slightly proggy Call Me with its bubbling synth effects and understated rhythm and keys.
Metronomy songs have that guise of appearing simple and low key, but revealing layers of depth only found after multiple listens, which is part of their appeal. This is not disposable throwaway music you tire of quickly. That’s not to say the album is without songs that won’t immediately catch your attention. The shimmering and fantastically titled The Most Immaculate Haircut will hook you in minutes. The down-tempo chamber pop of Reservoir and I’m Aquarius are similarly catchy.
Elsewhere the instrumental Boy Racer could be the soundtrack to a ’70s sci-fi show and Month of Sundays continues the nostalgia trip. The entire album is overarched by Mount’s melancholy lyrics in which he laments about relationships. If you loved ‘The English Riviera’, you will find plenty to like on ‘Love Letters’. It may not have the immediate huge hits like The Bay or Corrine but it’s a rounded, consistent and appealing album.