Duncan Browne and Peter Godwin met in the early ‘70s, somewhere between Paris and London. Browne was already a well-known name on the UK folk-pop scene, having released his first album, the baroque and exquisite Give Me Take You in 1968 on Immediate Reocrds. Leaning towards Immediate’s more sunshine sounds (imagine Billy Nichols, but more delicate), the record borrowed from the niceties of Browne’s countrymen like Donovan and early Cat Stevens, and presaged the darker vein into which the idiom would flow a few years later under Nick Drake.
Give Me Take You opened the door for further artistic development, with Browne landing a large part in the German feature film Zeit fur Traume and getting the attention of impresario supremo Mickie Most. This led to a 1973 self-titled album for Most’s RAK label, which set Browne’s poetic compositions against his increasingly impressive classical guitar technique.
During this time, Duncan Browne met Peter Godwin, a German ex-pat with a shared affinity for music without boundaries. After two years of composing and playing together almost non-stop, the duo burst forth with the stunning glam-prog perfection of Metro [Transatlantic 0064.009, 1976, and Sire SR 3041, 1977, in the US]. Rigidly funky, understatedly eloquent, a chiseled sonic sculpture, Metro - the band, and the album - leaves you thoroughly satisfied... but wanting more.
Pitched somewhere between Yes, Roxy Music, Crimson and Bowie, the vocals affect just the right melodic nonchalance, giving way to Browne’s guitar mastery and Godwin’s bubbling, neophytic synths. Briefly changing their name to Public Zone and releasing a 7” with Stuart Copeland on drums (you can get that here), Metro lasted through two more albums, neither of which featured Browne (New Love (1979) and Future Imperfect (1980)). Duncan Browne continued on in his solo career, pushing the envelope onto the club floor even further with The Wild Places (1978) and Streets of Fire. (1979)
Godwin, for his part, kept the groove going but couldn’t match the fire of the band’s debut. Disbanding Metro, he collaborated with both George Kajanis and Midge Ure on a handful of extended 12” singles which were eventually comped as the 1982 album Dance Emotions. The Kajanus-produced Correspondence was Godwin’s second, and final, album.
Browne didn’t do too much to follow up on the promise of his latter-day solo material, working on the soundtrack to the UK television show The Travelling Man and recording sporadically until his unfortunate death from cancer in 1993 (his final album was released posthumously). Although Metro is best known via Bowie’s cover of “Criminal World” on Let’s Dance, Browne and Godwin have yet to get the acclaim they truly deserve for their brilliant and prescient work together on Metro.