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Love Letter to a Record: Trace Decay on Metronomy’s ‘The English Riviera’

Music Feeds’ Love Letter To A Record series asks artists to reflect on their relationship with music and share stories about how the music they love has influenced their lives. Here, Trace Decay confesses his love for Metronomy’s breakthrough third album, 2011’s ‘The English Riviera’ 

Brisbane/Meanjin artist Trace Decay specialises in a brand of electronic-infused indie pop that he calls “melancholy dream pop”. The description encapsulates Trace Decay’s latest single, ‘Radicalize’, which features co-lead vocals from Lucille Two. The track, which is rooted in the “crippling self doubt and existential fear” of Trace Decays’ Jordan De Pas, came out on Friday, 30th June.

Trace Decay’s Jordan De Pas on Metronomy’s ‘The English Riviera’

This album completely reshaped the way I approached songwriting and music production. At the time of its release, I was touring around Australia and playing primarily electronic music a la the sound of the time – MGMT, Cut Copy, Justice – but was starting to delve a little more into the live indie world.

I had been a huge fan of Metronomy’s previous album, Nights Out, which was a left of centre electronica album, so naturally I was very excited about The English Riviera. So, when the album was released and I gave it its first full run through, I was all-in and ready to grow with the band.

When I first heard the lead single, ‘The Look’, I was completely hooked. I remember hearing that organ slowly fade in with its staccato chords, complemented by Joe Mount’s softly sung lyrics, “You’re up, and you’ll get down.” The bass line that ensues drew me in and had me head-over-heels for the aesthetic the album was presenting. The introduction of new band members also gave a new feel to the album, as they were now presenting as a five-piece instead of a three-piece. This made me realise how limited I felt at the time only playing and writing on my own.

Metronomy – ‘The Look’

I remember going home to my parents’ place and throwing out everything I had been working on and started laying down Hammond organ sounds, accompanied by funky slap bass and retro drums. I was like a kid in the playground. This is where I began creating songs again, in terms of structure and production, instead of just focusing on the production side.

This genre really shaped my next 10 years of songwriting and who I was as an artist. I felt like I had found an artist that I really aligned with in terms of sound and overall mood. It would get to the point where I could sense what would happen next in each of [Metronomy’s] songs because it’s exactly what I would have done.

It’s such a rare experience to be able to connect with a body of work and it then directly contributes to forming part of your own musical identity. To this day, I still fondly look back at this album and it still serves as a reference point for my music, including my upcoming EP, Imprint & Illuminate.

Trace Decay – ‘Radicalize’ (feat. Lucille Two)

Further Reading

Love Letter To A Record: Trace Decay’s Jordan De Pas On Death Cab For Cutie’s ‘Plans’

Love Letter to a Record: Imogen Clark on Taylor Swift’s ‘1989’

Metronomy – Sydney, Metro Theatre 28/07/14

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