Metronomy's third album, seaside inspired The English Riviera, never quite outshone their second album as far as I'm concerned. The slightly grimy autumnal melancholy of Nights Out felt far more British than the riviera to which the last album harks... That album upon which so many critics slathered patriotic love.
Which is not to say it isn't a good album, just a symptom of press arriving at a party already in full swing. The English Riviera won Joseph Mount and his increasingly band-shaped band a lot of applause. It is little surprise then that the glistening coastal feeling runs through much of their new compilation for Late Night Tales. The Late Night Tales albums tend to exhibit a little incorrigible wildness - an unwillingness to behave that is all too absent here. If they are created for nights of acid and too much cannabis then Metronomy appear to prefer to drink fine wine and enjoy the white powder.
In other words this is the smoothest Late Night Tales in a while (Music For Pleasure aside, of course), and it comes as something of a relief on that front. Recent entries to the series have been very strong but each album can feel a little dense.
But here Mount opens with Outkast's 'Prototype' - a track that still feels as instantly fresh and clean as the day it came out. It is a shame André 3000 is on semi-permanent sabbatical because just one of his productions feels so staggering on its own. The transition into Tweet's 'Drunk' is perfect - thick and unbelievably slow, like the power got cut from the record player but it somehow just about kept playing. Throw in Sa-Ra Creative Partners' jazz trumpet and clattering percussion on 'Cosmic Ball' and you have quite the album opening.
There are similar clutches of greatness elsewhere too. Alessi Brothers' 'Seabird' is dizzying gold plated-folk, a slightly psychedelic take on Rumours-era Fleetwood Mac. It shouldn't be able to smoothly transition into Autechre's glitch-ridden 'Fold4,Wrap5' and yet somehow it does.
The album closes with a maudlin duo of folk records - Herman Düne's damaged 'Winners Lose' and Cat Power's terrifying 'Werewolf'. It's an end you wouldn't dare stay past even if you could - if your late night party guest is playing heart-stopping blues music then it may be time to make an exit. As a close to Metronomy's mix album though it is pretty much spot on.