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Metronomy: Love Letters (Because Music)

Having received a Mercury Prize nomination for their previous release, 2011's The English Riviera (beaten on the night by PJ Harvey), this third studio album from the Brighton-based fourpiece comes with both a pedigree and a certain weight of expectation.

Providing the first to date has been creative mainstay Joseph Mount, who writes wry, sardonic love songs delivered in a euphoric indie-pop package which is in turn underpinned by a sense of irony. So while the message may be sincere - heartbreak is a serious issue - Mount is free to also poke fun at the medium in a winning, nudge-nudge fashion.

Or that's the theory. But too many songs here have too sketchy a mood to work that way.

The spare keyboard parts and understated drum machines used on opener The Upsetter and Call Me give both a demo-like feel and, while the downbeat I'm Aquarius is at least backlit up by some curious "shoob-doob" backing vocals from drummer Anna Prior, it's only on the indie jangle of The Most Immaculate Haircut, the synth-funk of Boy Racers and (as the band channels mid-1970s ELO and Steely Dan) on Love Letters itself that there's any sense of real substance. Expectation may weigh a little too heavy on these billets-doux.

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