Ian Weightman

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Top UK Band and Tourism Office are Singing from the same Songsheet

The English Riviera just became "cool" again!

Leading UK band Metronomy has teamed up with its local tourism company to help put The English Riviera well and truly on the map.

Metronomy release their third album, 'The English Riviera', April 11th on Because Music. The follow up to their 2008, critically acclaimed 'Nights Out' album, it is described as "a sonic progression of epic proportions" and reaffirms Metronomy front man and producer, Joseph Mount, as "a rare British talent".

And fittingly for an album that is part love letter to the area of Devon coast Mount grew up in, and part concept album about his semi-fictionalised vision of "The English Riviera", Metronomy are hitting all the right notes as far as the resort is concerned.

Forming a progressive partnership with the destination's new marketing company, the English Riviera Tourism Company, it seems Metronomy could prove a runaway hit for the popular seaside resort.

"We were delighted to hear that Metronomy had named its latest album 'The English Riviera," says the Tourism Company's Chief Executive Carolyn Custerson. "And it's all come at the best possible time. We've only just launched our own English Riviera Tourism Company, and our main brand is 'The English Riviera'.

"It's great to hear just how passionate and positive Joseph is about the area – and we'll be giving them as much support as we work to raise both the profile of the band and this part of South Devon in the future."

Though Mount now splits his time between London and Paris, the album was born out of a newfound focus on where he started making music over a decade ago: Devon. The idea of The English Riviera connects Mount with the part of the South West coastline near to where he grew up.

"I just fantasised that this area was a cutting edge place of music and youth culture, which it isn't at all," he explains. "Imagining that this part of England creates a specific kind of music – the 'Devon Sound' – similar to West Coast studio music of the 1970s. If you went there and you had the geographical landscape in mind you'd end up making quite reflective, introspective music. This was just me writing a fantasy about Devon being this cool place like Portland, Oregon, so saying 'I'm from the English Riviera' to the music press would get you a few column inches, instead of reminding you of Fawlty Towers."

Since their last album, 'Nights Out', the Devon-based band have swollen to a four piece with new members Anna Prior on drums, Gbenga Adelekan on bass, original member Oscar Cash on keys/sax, and Joe himself on vocals, keys and guitar.

Reflecting elements of "The English Riviera", the tone for the new album is set by the opening sounds of seagulls, distant waves and a Music Hall string quartet. Any notion of whimsy is swiftly dispelled, however, as the seismic bass line of 'We Broke Free' shudders and ushers in waves of layered guitars and synths.

Having produced and remixed everyone, from Roots Manuva to Kate Nash, this is the first Metronomy album that Mount has taken out of his bedroom and recorded in a proper studio. And the results are telling.

Characterised throughout with a sense of warmth and richness, 'The English Riviera' is in parts reminiscent of seminal 1970s West Coast studio albums from the likes of Fleetwood Mac and The Eagles, but due to Mount's studio wizardry, the record sounds vibrant and entirely of its time.

Though embracing warmer, pop melodies – check the achingly beautiful, woozy balladry of 'Trouble' and Steely D an-isms of 'Some Written' - Metronomy have by no means left the dance-floor behind. Future single, 'The Look' is constructed around the kind of all conquering synth riff that will see it become a firm favourite come the summer's festivals, whilst 'The Bay' and 'Loving Arm' slink and (night) crawl with eyes firmly set on darkened club rooms.

Mount still writes all the songs, and keeps a "Kevin Rowland-like" grip on the way they are produced, but live Metronomy is definitely a quartet.

Mount is pleased with the path the band is heading down, although he is still keen to keep things fresh next time round. "I definitely had no intention of doing the same thing again. I like the stuff that changes," he says. "I still feel like we're starting out in our career. One day there might come a time when we'll have released a huge output that people can draw lines between and look for similarities."

For now, though, we can just enjoy the warmth of The English Riviera, the latest instalment in Metronomy's epic journey into pop's heartlands.

To find out more about the resort, visit www.englishriviera.co.uk.

And to see Jo Mount talking about his inspiration for the new album, visit http://www.rockfeedback.com/feature/1742/mtrnmytqyiv/

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