The daunting size of Brixton Academy at first appears to be something of a challenge for tonight’s loved and lauded headliners. Not just because skinny indietronica arrangements are Metronomy’s trademark and light up their colourful back catalogue like quietly vibrant jellyfish in the shallow water, but because their most recent album ‘Love Letters’ is their most raw and intimate exertion to date. Although, thankfully, any such concerns around this evening’s combination of band and venue prove to be almost entirely unfounded; the Academy’s planet-daubed dome and their fourth record’s restrained spaced-out soul are, in fact, a match made in heaven.
Of course, as with the meek nerd pop that comes courtesy of Teleman’s support stint, not everything in their streamlined arsenal entirely translates; opener ‘Monstrous’ feels ill-placed at the set’s summit; a subtle introduction that barely announces the quintessentially English quartet’s arrival. Luckily, however, they strike the balance between accomplished and primal from then on – especially by the time the honky-tonk hooks of their latest release’s title track roll into view. Here, all the facets that make their existing line-up so deserving of your affection come to the fore; Anna Prior’s soft coo, Oscar Cash’s buoyant tambourine and Olugbenga Adelekan’s strutting bass combine to make something truly mesmerising. At the front of it all is band-founder Joseph Mount, a static but compelling figure, who leads the gleeful, red coat-donning ensemble through the brilliantly nostalgic jaunt.
Better still is the ghostly synth and swoon-worthy solo of ‘The Look’, chiefly because sound and vision work together to create a truly hypnotic and euphoric moment. At its apex, the figures dotted upon the stage’s light pink clouds play to a crossfire of glittery flickering lights – the sort that make us feel like we’ve been transported back in time to the stardust-spangled heyday of Studio 54. Naturally, it’s matched only by ‘The Bay’, which gets aired after a slew of other slick jams from their Mercury Prize-nominated third, ‘The English Riviera’. Tonight, the track’s sun-bleached reflection is transformed into a trippy, fidgety floor-filler, which fizzes into life with each synth stab.
When they return for the encore, its closer and fast-emerging new favourite ‘The Most Immaculate Haircut’ that feels like the three-song long reprise’s jewel in the crown. Laced with sadness, wonky lyrics and the sort of glistening, dreamy guitar line that Real Estate would pawn their possessions for, it woos and wholly warrants it’s positioning. Primed, poised and aesthetically perfect, Metronomy are – on tonight’s showing – better than ever.