Metronomy - Pip Paine (Pay The £5000 You Owe)
There's a saying by Albert Einstein: "The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources." Pip Paine (Pay The £5000 You Owe) gracefully responds: "up yours, Al!" Metronomy's plan is to flash every influence they've got, then twist them all around in a convoluted mess. They've got influence A.D.D. from track to track, so much so that any critic who tries to copy/paste into the "this band is a cross between ______ and ______" meme will find themselves flat on their back by the third or fourth song. Metronomy sounds like everything, but only small portions of everything, and you could list a hundred comparison acts without arriving to an accurate composite. So when I say that "Black Eye_Burnt Thumb" recalls dancehall Beirut, or "Love Song for Dog" is the child of Four Tet's shuffling drumlines, it's only a gimmick to get those songs into your ears. Really, I peg the similarities at around 10%. But once you're listening, it doesn't matter whether you scoff at me for making questionable references – there's a damn good chance the music will stick with you, and that means that in the end I've done my job, journalistic trickery or no.
But I have to find another way to pin a more stable description on these guys. Every track flaunts electronic influence – be it slight backdrop on tracks such as the distortion-rock opener, "You Could Easily Have Me," or the all-synthetic drum-n-glitch that grounds the buoyant keys in "Danger Song." The upside for all you variety-seekers is that there's no fallback instrument or go-to effect, and each song of the twelve comes off as its own offering. The downside is that it's tough to arrange an intentionally broad album, and so Pip Paine very much plays song by song without a whole lot of overarching cohesion. Take this for what it's worth – you'll never quite get comfortable, but you're never bored. I chalk this all up to the singular goal of surprise, something I'm admittedly a sucker for.
I'm also a sucker for offbeat arrangements and skewed time signatures, and Metronomy plays the angle to perfection. Album standout "How Say" features three separate mid-octave leads that overlap on the same four-measure loop without ever seeming to land a simultaneous note. Miraculously, each instrument maintains its own distinct sense of space. Other sounds that pop in and out when you'd least expect them. The whole album is kinda like the musical equivalent Whack-A-Mole: something always pops up on the opposite side of the board that you expect, and as soon as you chase it, it manages to slip out from under you. Off-balance and entertaining: that's Metronomy.
Pip Paine was released back in 2006, skirting the edges of the radar but going relatively unnoticed. Their latest EP, My Heart Rate Rapid, came out on April 7th, and these guys seem to be picking up some well-deserved steam in the press. Take a listen to the title track, "My Heart Rate Rapid," off that EP.
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