Portugal Colonial - Metronomy see a 'Small World' emerge from pandemic

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Metronomy see a 'Small World' emerge from pandemic
Metronomy see a 'Small World' emerge from pandemic

Metronomy see a 'Small World' emerge from pandemic

As the title of his new album suggests, Metronomy's Joe Mount found an unexpected sense of connection to the rest of the planet in the midst of the pandemic.

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The multi-instrumentalist returns on Friday with his seventh album of retro pop gems, "Small World".

It reflects a surprisingly enriching couple of years, holed up with his family and young children in the English countryside.

"Growing up, you hear people talking about the population of the world being too big and getting ever bigger. Suddenly the numbers felt more manageable. I felt there was a community suddenly," Mount told AFP.

"Everyone was in the same place, everyone experiencing the same thing," he said.

It was also a chance to take a breather after 20 years of writing and touring.

"The good thing about being at home for the pandemic was realising you don't need to consume stuff. I was quite happy just being at home.

"I've experienced time in a very different way these past two years. How hours make days and days make weeks -- i feel like I've lived every minute."

- 'A bit strange' -

Mount has always been comfortable working alone.

From his early days writing music in his Devon bedroom, the award-winning musician has always written and recorded everything himself, only adding band members for touring as his career took off.

The first single from the new album, "It's Good to be Back", might suggest Mount was keen to get back on stage.

But "it's actually about coming home," he said with a laugh.

And in fact, one of the first comeback gigs was an unusual affair amid the towering glass and water features of the Louis Vuitton Foundation in Paris in November.

"I was more nervous than usual," said Mount. "The idea of pure pleasure on stage isn't true. There's anxiety. It can feel a bit strange. It ultimately felt good but it's never all that simple."

While the new album is a very upbeat affair musically, some of the lyrics -- such as opening track "Life and Death" -- suggest a more unflinching look at life as Mount turns 40 this year.

"There's a sort of maturity in being comfortable about speaking about anything," he said.

"I think about that with my children. You have to be comfortable to talk about anything because if you don't, you can give them complexes.

"What I want to do with Metronomy is to become more open as the band and I get older."

There are echoes of his heroes, especially David Bowie, on songs like "Love Factory".

"If you sing in a low voice and you have an English accent, you're going to sound like Bowie," he said with a chuckle.

"But he's been a big influence and its impossible to do certain things without sounding like him. It's not conscious but I'm not ashamed to be influenced by him."