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Album review: Metronomy – Small World

It has been 15 years since Metronomy’s debut album, Pip Paine (Pay the £5000 You Owe), and Joe Mount is feeling it. Small World is an album very concerned with the passage of time. A wry, regretful look back at a life well lived and mistakes made along the way: ‘Life, it’s a cross that we all bear’, he sings over the bouncy synthpop of ‘It’s Good to Be Back’, like he’s trying to convince himself.

There’s a lot of that going on, ironically repeated platitudes and clichés that we trot out to try and reassure each other that everything is going to be alright. ‘Life and Death’, ‘Things Will be Fine’ – a cynical optimism, a sense of a once hopeful heart bruised by experience but still putting a brave face on and hoping for once to be right.

There’s a comforting nostalgia to Small World, as with the 80s yacht rock of their 2011 album English Riviera, but also in the driving percussion and strings of the disco-dipped ‘Right on Time’ or the influence of Hunky Dory-era Bowie on ‘I Lost My Mind’ – a sentiment many of us will have felt in our own shrunken lockdown worlds, the sense of living the same day on repeat. The latter pushes out into a cosmic bloom, opening to a sense of possibility and hope echoed in ‘I Have Seen Enough’; a celebration, of the little joys of life that closes the album – flowerbeds rising, children growing and the sense that yeah, this is going to be OK.

Metronomy play Glasgow Barrowland on 22nd April.

Small World is out 18th February via Because Music

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