Last night, electronic pop band Metronomy touched down in Vancouver on tour with their latest album, Love Letters, to play a sold out show at Fortune Sound Club.
The release dropped on March 10 and is Metronomy’s fourth studio album—the first since 2011’s The English Riviera. The album arrived via Because Music, a UK distributor for Little Dragon as well as for the prominent record label Ed Banger Records that is home to artists like Justice and Sebastian.
Aussie darlings Cloud Control warmed up the room with their upbeat indie pop, fresh off a two week break since their set at Sasquatch. The band will be supporting Metronomy throughout their west coast American tour, and closed their set off with “Scar” as the room filled up for the headliners.
The five-piece outfit from England took the stage in trademark matching suit jackets, this time white to pick up the stage lights that changed with each track’s mood.
Two new tracks kicked off the night, “Monstrous” and “Month of Sundays,” and set the tone for a show that leaned closer to atmospheric new wave than it did dance pop. Metronomy eased the crowd in with a deliberate beat that then picked up for some old favourites, “The Look” and “She Wants.”
Between the space ship sound effects, nostalgic harmonies accented by tambourines and bongos, and right down to the retro 60s font on the blossoming album cover art, Metronomy is up front with their psychedelic influences.
The band traded off instruments, keyboardist Oscar Cash even moving to center stage at one point to sing a cover of “Naked Smile” by Box Codax, and to show off some Sinatra inspired dance moves.
The end of the set saw some modest stage planning with the band members pairing off to the back corners for the album’s first single, “I’m Aquarius” that features spaced-out “shoop doop doop ahhhs” that sound far less like background vocals in a doo wop ditty than they lyrically suggest.
The retro feel was complete with several lengthy instrumental interludes: the band was tight but left me wondering whether the chorus would pick up or if this is the song’s drawn out end. Still, people danced, even clapping along.
Standout moments included the title track, “Love Letters,” (the music video is directed by the great Michel Gondry, check it out here), “The Bay,” of course, and the synthy encore “Heartbreaker.”
Honourable mention goes out to “Everything Goes My Way” because I’m a sucker for a drummer that holds down the beat while taking on lead vocals, and to “Radio Ladio,” which was significantly better without having to watch the candy-coloured creepiness in the music video.
Metronomy played well and true to their recorded sounds and embellished the show with a bit of a psychedelic light show (putting the disco ball to good use), but the band didn’t deliver the energy I was expecting from a well-practiced live show. Still, there was a whole lot of cheering and dancing coming out of the jam-packed room, so I might be democratically out on this one. And I really shouldn’t be arguing against such a solid showing of “The Bay.”