The first three albums released by Metronomy saw the band characterized by an inability to stick to one sound and genre. Their fourth album saw the outfit put their stylistic inconsistencies behind them to deliver Love Letters, an album that adheres to a reliably coherent, though sometimes narrow, strain of pop-rock minimalism.
Love Letters consists of careful arrangements that sparingly place Baroque harpsichord melodies, surf-rock organ splashes, and doo-wop backing vocals along a ten song axis with machine-like precision. Staying true to their name, Metronomy’s rhythm section churns out a monotonous pulse that can be aptly described as metronomic, accentuated by two-bit drum machines and on-the-nose auxiliary percussion.
Metronomy are at their best when vulnerabilities are exposed, as in the album’s opener, “The Upsetter,” where vocalist Joseph Mount strains a precarious falsetto that teeters on the verge of cracking. It’s a breath of fresh air on a record that is desperately short on soul. Love Letters is comprised of lyrical odes to romances that have lost their edge; it’s a shame the arrangements are suitably dull.