Never discount the huge gains that can be associated with distance. More and more often these days, I find myself inundated with music and forcing my listening habits into somewhat of a utility situation, where those I anticipate the most or need to hear for work purposes float to the top of the pile while things I know I’ll be interested in sit there, sometimes for months before they even get a spin. You don’t need to be a writer or critic to have this experience; many people download albums excitedly, get caught up in work and simply forget to listen to them. The traditional release cycle has been subverted by online leaks and our ability to share with one another so much so that the concept of dedicating yourself to one album either in emotional excitement or physical engagement is very much on the way out. But as I said, never discount the huge gains that can be associated with distance. Metronomy’s English Riviera, a record I actually heard them perform pieces of last year before it was even on wax, has been out for the better half of this year and my brother even wrote about the lead single back in June. But by virtue of nothing other than distraction, it’s been sitting collecting dust in my room waiting to be heard. And I’m kind of glad I spent all that time not-listening to this album, because it makes listening to it for the first time that much more special.
‘Everything Goes My Way’ is freaking adorable – there’s no two ways about it. With it’s lilting tropical guitar line, handclaps and cabasa – there needs to be a Will Ferrell skit about cabasas – it’s the closest approximation to main brain Joseph Mount’s aforementioned Riviera that you’re going to find on the album. The inclusion of a non-Metronomy member on vocals, albeit an utterly engrossing one, is also a very risky move when you’re only onto track three but it pays off in spades. A bit of web-sleuthing unearths the chanteuse as Roxanne Clifford of Veronica Falls, who’s coy and British and wonderful in the same way Charlize Theron was in the third season of Arrested Development. It doesn’t matter if neither of those references mean anything to you, because then you’re getting a similar kind of distance that I had by leaving this record alone for so long.
Metronomy were famously a band who, when good, were fantastic and when they were trying too hard, sadly uninspiring. The English Riviera, and this song in particular, sees them swinging back to the former while still retaining the quirky little charms that make them the kid you’d love to hook up with at the bar if he’d just finish requesting obscure Beck songs on the jukebox. ‘Everything’ is a case in point, while you can bop along to the riff there’s a definite counter-dissonance happening beneath the waves, like something’s not quite right in the tune even though it’s hard to isolate. Creating that uneasy tension without tipping overboard is not easy and something Metronomy do with increasing aplomb, both with tricky half-step chord changes (like you get in the verse progression) and the fact that Clifford falls onto notes a bit lower than you’d expect her to for her lead melody. It’s this deliberate depressing or suppressing of the easy tonal answer that makes Metronomy a band worth savouring, if not for all the usual tricks that make them likeable such as those elastic bass lines and tight horn stabs, both of which really start to kick in during the last minute of the song. Would I have seen all of this at the time? Probably not. Coincidentally, Metronomy seem to have decided that this lovely wonder will be their next single release, so somehow, I’ve ended up ahead of time again.
The force is strong in this one.
Metronomy – ‘Everything Goes My Way’
[audio:https://1songday.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/03-Everything-Goes-My-Way.mp3|titles=03 Everything Goes My Way]