‘The Hardest Thing To Do’ has been available under the weirdest of artist names – Tony Primo and Nixxie – since May. But it was only picked up this week when it was revealed that Robyn and Metronomy frontman Joe Mount were behind the track. They’re part of a group of artists including Jarvis Cocker and Sebastian Tellier who have created music for an Australian film called Partisan under pseudonyms. That none of the tracks have been perceived as anything more than the weird YouTube videos they are might be a sign of middling quality, but this is much better than that. And actually, the context provided by Robyn and Metronomy’s names helps.
It’s a nostalgic, mid-tempo duet – a far cry from Robyn’s thumping recent efforts with disco project La Bagatelle Magique – and its safe, ‘80s feel is clear from the outset. A toned-down Robyn sings alongside Mount over some retro keyboard effects, plinky synths and muted guitar. The Swedish singer has moved much further away from her roots than the Metronomy man has his. This is nothing like the punchy, intelligent pop of her ‘Body Talk’ album series. And even though it’s got the same felt-lined quality of ‘Love Letters’, it wouldn’t really belong there either.
This is exactly the kind of warm, sentimental pop lushness you’d expect Robyn and Joe Mount to come up with though. And the result is compelling enough to leave you wondering why they’ve never thought to work together before.