Few songwriters understand the dynamics of brilliant pop music as well as Metronomy‘s lead singer Joe Mount. He even made wonderful music with Nicola Roberts from Girls Aloud.

This, Metronomy’s seventh album, seems like a culmination of the ideas they’ve been working towards. It’s absolutely gorgeous, a real statement of intent regarding moving forward when things have been so tough on everyone. Post-pandemic pop if you like.

It’s full of reticent optimism (Things Will Be Fine) and the kind of introspection that Robert Smith would sell his crimpers for (Loneliness On The Run, Life And Death) where the melancholy and responsibilities of middle-age rub up against the carefree headrush of indie dancefloor anthems. Sad bangers are often the best – just ask Robyn, Ex:Re, and Kylie.

The band are on sparkling form, with instrumentation and backing vocals from Olugbenga Adelekan and Anna Prior sealing the deal. Too often, Metronomy are written off as Mount’s solo project plus musicians, but that does a huge disservice to the entire band. The acoustic elements fuse effortlessly here with the electronic, heat and cool in symbiosis.

On Right On Time there’s a soupcon of Northern Soul, particularly in the bright, uplifting chorus. It’s like emerging, blinking, from hibernation into a sunny morning.

Elsewhere, Love Factory and I Have Seen Enough shine with 80s gloss, while transcending the influences of Talk Talk and Tears For Fears at their moodiest. They’re still resolutely Metronomy, and the world feels like a better, more hopeful place for that.