Almost a year after Daft Punk unleashed their double Grammy-winning Random Access Memories, UK quartet Metronomy are releasing their own take on sublime electro-organic, disco-meets-soft-rock, Seventies-meets-now opus.
But where the French duo went in for the (over)kill, Metronomy’s Love Letters, the follow-up to 2011’s Mercury-nominated The English Riviera is all about subtlety and intimacy, as lynchpin Joe Mount explains.
“There’s a lot to be said for stripping things back, not to see how far you can go, because that would be too far, but more to reveal the most important elements of a song.”
Daft Punk’s vocalist collaborators include Pharrell Williams and Julian Casablancas. Metronomy’s guest count: zero.
“It’s crossed my mind before to feature singers but I think it dilutes whatever your idea is. I find the most interesting voices on Daft Punk’s record are their own. Even though they use vocoders, you can hear their French accents… personality is important in music, and I find lots of different personalities confuse things.”
Random Access Memories is an old-school concept album, a love letter to the sounds of the Seventies. Love Letters isn't.
“I didn’t want to give the new record a theme, but one emerged anyway. My girlfriend and I had a baby six months after we started Love Letters but I was careful to avoid all that stuff. I was writing while I was away, and travelling, so this album is more about distance and communication.”
Daft Punk used five studios across two continents. Metronomy bunkered down at east London’s eight-track analogue specialists Toe Rag.
“It’s so easy to get hold of technology these days, and I wanted to prove to myself that I could still make a relevant record without relying on computers, as I’ve always done.
I wanted to go back to what first excited me about music like The Beatles and The Kinks. Random Access Memories is brilliant, but I still think it could have gone one step further.
You can hear where they start computer-editing, and cutting and pasting these long loops, which is what I wanted to avoid.”
Random Access Memories runs a whopping 74mins. Love Letters a modest 42mins.
“I was adamant I was going to make a double album, this long, expansive record.
I even told my manager, ‘Don’t let anyone say it will make a great single album!’ But it was my dad who said, ‘Isn’t it more impressive to make a really expansive record in a short space of time?’ And he was right.”
Love Letters is out on 10 March through Because Music