Although Mount told his band mates to sit this one out both in the studio and on the road, Summer 08 should very much be considered the fifth Metronomy album. It's easy to get the impression that this solo effort means he's back to the DIY days that produced 2006's modest Pip Paine (Pay the £5000 You Owe), but those days are too far gone. Harnessing the "naiveté" and hasty approach that resulted in Nights Out (Summer 08 reportedly took two weeks to record), Mount has returned to that album's more capricious style of songwriting, but the result is yet another example of just how good he is at making singular, sophisticated and inventive pop music.
Instead of the more spacious and fluid structures of past hits like "The Bay" and "Love Letters," Summer 08 offers a tauter, more insular spread of electronic pop, lyrically focused on life from that titular era. Single "Old Skool" is a tightly wound and nervous banger that loosens up just enough for Mix Master Mike to drop in a flurry of scratches; "Hang Me Out To Dry," which features Robyn, has a nervy beat that is juxtaposed by an eerie, Angelo Badalamenti-esque synth-scape; and the mostly instrumental closer "Summer Jam" offers up a rippling, chilled coda.
Summer 08 may not have been designed to build on the success of Love Letters and The English Riviera, but it still very well may; it's every bit as resourceful, offbeat and pleasing as anything Mount has done to date. (Because/Warner)