LIVE: Metronomy – The Albert Hall, Manchester

As pop music goes at the moment, a look at those who are shifting the most units is no way to really judge who is on top. After gaining admirable but ‘blink and you’ll miss it’ kind of attention from their first couple of LPs, however, Metronomy took a step-up that made them a name who enthrall the mainstream and the underground in equal measure.

The unleashing of The English Riviera three years ago signaled a new level of craftsmanship and an arsenal of pop hooks from frontman Joe Mount that caused many who had never before sat up and taken notice to do just that.

Always a band to try to offer something different to their audiences, the live show on that tour was spectacular too. Taking influence from disco, electronica, indie rock and pop, the quartet consolidated themselves as a unit at the top of their game. The raved-out vibe was also increased by the fact that they took to the stage in pitch black venues, with only a flashing light attached to the chest of each member, pulsating to each track’s rhythm. It all made for an encapsulating night out.

Fast forward to today, however, and the experience is just as awe-inspiring, albeit what can only be described as that bit more showbiz. But rather than levelling any accusations at the matching white suits or polarising Beatles covers, the overall impression is one of a group who have come into their own and are more comfortable than ever to embrace the simplicity and glamour of the pop world.

In all honesty, it’s hit after hit, with The English Riviera and most recent LP Love Letters dominating the set. The title track has the crowd bouncing from the off and then the duet between Mount and drummer Anna Prior that comes with ‘Everything Goes My Way’ soars into the Albert Hall’s ether.

There’s a sense of occasion throughout, with this one off Manchester gig being paired with a huge London show at Alexandra Palace, marking the finale of a Lover Letters tour that has been on the road for the best part of a year now.

Moments from the album that are clinical and concise on the record are blown wide open here, with expansive breakdowns and a masterful performance from Oscar Cash on guitar. At the other end of the scale, there is a cover of ‘Here Comes the Sun’ that is perfectly pleasant, but not all that necessary.

However, the showstopping crescendo comes when a huge disco ball is accompanied by a series of strobes for ‘The Bay’ – the track that has probably become recognised a any Metronomy set’s bonafide singalong.

This comes before an encore that blasts the roof off and tips its hat to the city’s long heritage of hosting the best parties in the country. ‘Love Underlined’ is an electronically-enthused ball of excitement that has every single person in the venue dancing the night out. Perfect Pop for the 21st Century.

Patrick Davies

 

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