A first impression of Metronomy’s Love Letters is that it’s a massive slab of indie-pop/synthpop beauty. As you progress into the album, synth lines ooze from every song. They form the basic structure of all the songs with Metronomy building upon soaring synth lines with subtle guitar riffs, crooning vocals and mellow drum beats.
The opening track “The Upsetter” is a delicate synthpop medley. The focus is more on the vocals in this particular track, with the high-pitched vocals on the chorus contrasting the deeper and more nasally vocals of the bridge. The synth lines are punctuated by the gentle chords of an acoustic guitar. Overall, “The Upsetter” is a very mellow and uplifting song. It fades out with an almost chant-like repetition of “You’re really giving me a hard time.”
“I’m Aquarias” and “Monstrous” are both focused on the vocals. The instrumentals are a basic synth line punctuated with a heavy bass line. Vocalist Joseph Mount croons through this delicate wall of sound, producing lyrics like “I can love it / I can leave it” and “Every night is the mark of a new day / and every day is the mark of something new.”
The title track “Love Letters” is probably the song that had the most production applied to it. It begins with a very haunting trumpet medley with a delicate synth line underlying it, which launches into an upbeat drum beat and an uplifting piano medley. The female backing vocals form a soft background to this medley and a contrast to Mount’s rather high-pitched voice. The song finishes with a beautiful trumpet solo and slowly fades out into the next track. “Month of Sundays” is a slow-paced indie rock song which sees Metronomy step away from their usual synthpop sound. They sound a lot like Arcade Fire did on The Suburbs, with whining guitar riffs and crooning vocals backed by high-pitched female backing vocals.
“Boy Racers” sees a low point in the album with a very ’80s disco-sounding fully instrumental track. This low point is continued into “Call Me” which is a bland and boring song. The only redeeming qualities may be the vocals and lyrics like, “Everybody is your friend, only if they say.” Besides that, the instrumentals are very dull and monotonous. “The Most Immaculate Haircut” sounds like your typical indie rock song that had synthesisers thrown into it. It is a very uplifting song. The only letdown is a strange sample of running water appearing halfway through the song. It just seems so out of place until you realise that it’s the equivalent of a fade-out. It goes straight into “Reservoir”, which is a synth-heavy song. The synth lines are very repetitive but they really highlight the sharp vocals. Closer “Never Wanted” is very disappointing as I am quite used to the final song being one of the best on the album. It feels like Metronomy just decided to mess around with a synthesiser and make strange noises. Even the lyrics aren’t very coherent.
Love Letters is a good album until you reach the midsection; after that, it becomes quite disappointing and starts to bore you. There is very little variation in the sound and the synth lines nearly all sound the same. Even the vocals start to get very annoying. The issue with Love Letters is that it is an album designed to be listened to once and then put to the side once you move on to something more exciting. I advise against listening to this more than once.