Metronomy Credit: Courtesy of Orienteer

On “Upset My Girlfriend,” from Metronomy’s 2019 album, Metronomy Forever (Because), Joseph Mount moans, “I used to play drums in a rock ’n’ roll band / But they kicked me out / ’Cause I used to feel it / And so I would speed up.” The song’s sparse, strummy indie pop and ambient keyboard flourishes aren’t rock ’n’ roll at all, but Mount’s lyrics about being so excited about the music (and about a type of stardom he’s not yet attained) make for a good summation of the British singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist’s 20-year career. In that time he’s developed a melodic fluency reminiscent of Paul McCartney, as well as production talents impressive enough that Robyn recruited him to cocreate her latest album, Honey. It seems like he should be a household name—he should be a household name—but his music is a little too coy and a little too hard to pin down. His records are basically just him, assembling pop lyrics that tend to turn too inward to launch him to superstardom. On Metronomy Forever he’s as accessibly inaccessible as ever. “Salted Caramel Ice Cream” is a catchy retro New Order exercise that’s cloying enough to come across as deliberate self-parody. “Insecure,” in contrast, is a one-minute experimental keyboard drone that forsakes pop altogether—and it slides into “Miracle Rooftop,” a bass-heavy, repetitive pulse that, contrary to its title, roots and burps some six feet under the dance floor. The last song on the album, “Ur Mixtape,” is an emo slow jam about creating music for a girlfriend who didn’t care and in the process accidentally wowing her brother. It’s a perfect metaphor for an artist who seems to go out of his way to make the right music for the wrong fans, or vice versa.   v