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Beginning as a scrappy, lo-fi side project and growing into one of the more creative acts mixing rock and electronic music, Metronomy is the project of London-based multi-instrumentalist and producer Joseph Mount. Named after the musical term for the measurement of time by an instrument, Mount started Metronomy in 1999 as a side project to the other bands he played with, using an old computer that his father gave him to record songs. Metronomy's first full-band lineup also included keyboardist/saxophonist Oscar Cash and keyboardist/bassist Gabriel Stebbing. Prior to Metronomy, Mount and Stebbing played together in bands such as the Upsides, a pop group the pair described as "the original Busted," and the Customers, with whom they played in university.
When his cousin Cash joined Metronomy, it became the trio's main project. With a sound inspired by influences from Devo and David Bowie to N.E.R.D. and Pavement, Metronomy earned buzz for their engaging live shows as well as official and unofficial remixes of tracks by Gorillaz, Architecture in Helsinki, Sebastien Tellier, Kate Nash, U2, and Britney Spears. Their debut single, "You Could Easily Have Me," arrived in spring 2005 on the Holiphonic imprint, and the full-length Pip Paine (Pay the 5000 You Owe) was released that summer.
In 2006, Metronomy signed to Because Music; the following year, the single Radio Ladio became their first and only release on its Need Now Future imprint. The label also issued 2008's Nights Out, which introduced their eclectic sound to a wider audience thanks to singles such as Heartbreaker and My Heart Rate Rapid. In 2009, Stebbing left Metronomy to focus on his other project, Your Twenties. Bassist Gbenga Adelekan and former Lightspeed Champion drummer Anna Prior joined the fold for 2011's The English Riviera, which boasted a sleeker sound than the band's previous work. It was their most commercially successful album to date, reaching number 28 on the U.K. charts, selling more than 60,000 copies, and earning them a Mercury Prize nomination. The album's popularity led to a sold-out show at Royal Albert Hall as well as comprehensive tours of both Europe and North America.
Mount and crew went in a very different direction for Metronomy's fourth album, Love Letters. Taking inspiration from acts such as the Supremes, the Zombies, and Sly & the Family Stone, the band recorded at Toe Rag, an all-analog London studio frequented by indie rock bands such as the White Stripes and the Cribs. The singles I'm Aquarius and Love Letters -- which boasted a video directed by Michel Gondry -- signaled the album's mix of vintage warmth and cutting-edge pop ahead of its March 2014 release. The album peaked at number seven on the U.K. albums chart, their highest position on the chart yet. For Metronomy's next album, Mount changed course again, booking a studio just outside Paris and writing and recording a set of songs by himself within two weeks. The funky Summer 08, which reflected on the exuberance of the Nights Out era and featured collaborations with Mix Master Mike, Erol Alkan, and Robyn, arrived in July 2016. ~ Heather Phares
- Totnes, Devon, England
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