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Metronomy @ Union Transfer.

May 16, 2014

Metronomy9aText by Devin M. O’Toole. Images by Teresa McCullough.

Metronomy, the Totnes, London four-piece, are looking to make the leap.  Albeit polarizing, what were once three, awkward white dudes crafting glitch-pop, bedroom instrumentals in the mid 2000s, has ballooned into a robust ’60s camp collaboration.

With the bombastic addition of flat-topped bassist, Gbenga Adelekan and the steadying 4/4 disco presence of drummer Anna Prior (of Lightspeeed Champion), Metronomy’s rhythm section has rounded out a visually pleasing presentation.

Metronomy, touring off of their March release, Love Letters, graced Union Transfer‘s stage this past Tuesday night.

Lead singer, Joe Mount, ushered his band of matching white suits and black shirts–ostensibly televangelists over Bond pomp.  The cotton-candy clouded backdrop and lit Yamaha CS-80 casings signaled late-60s revivalist mojo.

They opened with “Month of Sundays,” one of the album’s more salacious, bass heavy productions. They continued through crowd favorites and “The Look” and the Toni Basilesque “Radio Ladio.”  With Mount manning the bongos and keyboardist Oscar Cash cavorting between fills, the night took on a very Love Boat feel.  Toeing the line of squirmishly cheesy and affected cool, Metronomy clearly disregard the potential pitfalls of caucasian R&B ennui.  Their ironic lounge aesthetic is clearly a launchpad to bigger (festivals) and better (American centralist radio spins) opportunities.

Mount is quoted as saying that Sly and the Family Stone played a significant influence on the new record.  This was viscerally channeled through Adelekan’s goading handclaps and beautiful lead on “Boy Racers.”  “The Reservoir” even aped the Pips sychronized dance moves.

The gracious Brits encored their most commercially acclaimed hit “Heartbreaker.”  “You Could Easily Have Me,” a guitar-driven, synth cacophony, off of the band’s first album, closed the night abruptly, but equally served as a doff of the cap to the OG fans who stuck with them through their many permutations.  The smaller crowd left with a genuine sense of a job well done, but far from satiated.

Other show notes:  Philly was apparently the first night of the tour where Joe Mount didn’t have a cold; Anna Prior “fell in love with Philadelphia” and dedicated “Everything Goes My Way” to the city; Oscar Cash took lead vocals on a stirring rendition of Box Codax’s “Naked Smile.”

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